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riHACA, N. Y. 14853 


Cornell University Library 
BL2773 .D27 1904 

Tribus Impostoribus, A.D. 1230 = The thr 


3 1924 029 093 320 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

A. D. 1230. 


(with Notes and Comments) 









1 \ .J' 

:d x'\ 



The man who marks or leaves with pages bent 

The volume that some trusting friend has lent, 

Or keeps it over long, or scruples not 

To let its due returning be forgot; 

The man who guards his books with miser's care, 

And does not joy to lend them, and to share; 

The man whose shelves are dust begrimed and few. 

Who reads when he has nothing else to do ; 

The man who raves of classic writers, but 

Is found to keep them with their leaves uncut; 

The man who looks on literature as news, 

And gets his culture from the book reviews; 

Who loves not fair, clean type, and margins wide — 

Or loves these better than the thought inside ; 

Who buys his books to decorate the shelf, 

Or gives a book he has not read himself; 

Who reads from priggish motives, or for looks, 

Or any reason save the love of books — 

Great Lord, who judgest sins of all degrees. 

Is there no little private hell for these ? 

Edition S52 copies. 
1^ on large faper. 


This pamphlet in its present form is the result of 
an inquiry into the characters represented in a 
historical grade of the Ancient Accepted Scottish 
Rite, and the probability of their having existed at the 
date mentioned in the said grade. Few appeared to 
have any very clear notion of the relation of the char- 
acters to the period — Frederick II. being confounded 
with his grand-father, Frederick Barbarossa — and the 
date of the supposed foundation of the Order of Teutonic 
Knights, 1 190, being placed as the date of the papacy 
of Oronata, otherwise Honorius III. Inquiry being 
made of one in authority as to the facts in the case — he 
being supposed to know — elicited the reply that the 
matter had been called to his attention some months 
previous by an investigator — now deceased — but the 
matter had been dropped. It was also surmised by the 
same authority that an error might have been made by 
one of the committee having ritualistic matter in charge 
— but he, having also been gathered to his fathers, was 
not available for evidence. 

It is stated that the action took place when Fred- 
erick II. was Emperor of Germany, and Honorius III. 
presided over spiritual conditions ; but this Pope, 
according to Haydn'' s Dictionary of Dates, reigned 
1216-1227, and the dissertation on the pamphlet names 
Gregory IX., successor to Honorius, (1227-1241) as 
the Pope against whom the treatise was written. The 
infamous book mentioned in the representation no one 


seemed to have any knowledge of. Inquiry made con- 
cerning the treatise at various Ubraries supposed to 
possess it, and of various individuals who might know 
something of it, elicited but the information that it was 
purely " legendary," that, " it had no existence except 
by title," and that "it was an item of literature entirely 

Having been a book collector and a close reader 
of book catalogs for over twenty-five years, I had 
never noted any copy offered for sale, but a friend 
with the same mania for books, had seen a copy men- 
tioned in a German catalog, and being interested in 
" de tribus Impostoribus " for reasons herein men- 
tioned, had sent for and procured the same — an edition 
of a Latin version compiled from a Ms. 1598, with a 
foreword in German. The German was familiar to 
him, but the Latin was not available. 

About the same time I found in a catalog of a 
correspondent of mine at London, a book entitled 
" Les Trois Imposteurs. De Tribus Impostoribus 
et dissertation sur le livre des Trois Imposteurs, sm. 
/fto. Saec. XVIII.,'''' and succeeded in purchasing it. 

The manuscript is well written, and apparently by 
two different hands, which would be probable from the 
facts set forth in the " Dissertation." A copy of the 
translation from the Latin is probably deposited in the 
library of Duke Eugene de Subaudio as set forth in the 
colophon at end of the manuscript. 

The manuscript is written in the French of the 
period, and is dated in the colophon as 17 16. The 
discovery of the original Latin document is mentioned 
in the "Dissertation" as about 1706. It has been 
annotated by another hand, as shown by foot notes, and 
several inserted sheets containing notes in still another 


hand, were written evidently about 1746, as one of the 
sheets is a portion of a letter postmarked /fe Aout in 
latter year. 

I append a bibliogi-aphy from Werner's Latin 
reprint of 1598 which will show that the pamphlet has 
" been done before" ; but it will be noted that English 
versions are not so plenty as those in other tongues, 
and but one is known to have been printed in the 
United States. 

I must acknowledge my indebtedness to Doctissi- 
mus vir Harpocrates, Col. F. Montrose, and Maj. Otto 
Kay for valued assistance in languages with which I am 
not thoroughly familiar, and also to Mr. David 
Hutcheson, of the Library of Congress, for favors 
granted . 

Ample apologies will be found for the treatise in 
the several introductions quoted from various editions, 
and those fond of literary curiosities will certainly be 
gratified by its appearance in the twentieth century. 

A. N. 


In 1846, Emil Weller published " De Tribzis 
hnpostoribus,'''' and also a later edition in 1876, at 
Heilbronn, from a Latin copy of one of the only four 
known to be in existence and printed in 1598. The 
copy from which it was taken, consisting of title and 
forty-six leaves, quarto, is at the Royal Library at 
Dresden, and was purchased for one hundred gulden. 

The other three, according to Ebert in his "Bibli- 
ographical Lexicon," are as follows: one in the Royal 
Library at Paris, one in the Crevanna Library and the 
other in the library of Renouard. 

An edition was published at Rackau, in Germany, 
in 1598, and Thomas Campanella (1636), in his 
" Atheismus TritimphatuSy'' gives the year of its first 
publication as 1538. 

Florimond Raimond (otherwise Louis Richeome, ) 
claims to have seen a copy owned by his teacher, 
Peter Ramus, who died in 1572. 

All the talk of theological critics that the booklet 
was first printed in the seventeenth century, is made 
out of whole cloth. 

There is nothing modern about the edition of 1598. 
It may be compared, for example, with Martin Wittel's 
print of the last decade of the sixteenth century, by 
which it is claimed that it could not have been printed 
then, as the paper and printing of that period closely 
resembles that of the eighteenth century. 

With the exception of the religious myths, few 


writings of the dark ages have had as many hypotheses 
advanced in regard to origin as there have been regard- 
ing this one. 

According to John Brand it had been printed at 
Krakau, according to others, in Italy or Hungary as a 
translation of an Arabic original existing somewhere in 
France . 

William Postel mentions a tract " (ie Tribus 
Prophetis,'" and gives Michael Servetus, a Spanish 
doctor, as the author. 

The Capuchin Monk Joly, in Vol. Ill of his 
" Conference of Mysteries," assures us that the Hugue- 
not, Nic. Barnaud, in 1612, on account of an issue of 
'■'• de Tribus Impostoribus,'''' was excommunicated as 
its author. 

Johann Mueller, in his " Besiegten Atheismus," 
(Conquered Atheist), mentions a certain Nachtigal 
who pubUshed at Hague, in 1614, '■'■ De Trib. Imp.,''^ 
and was therefore exiled. 

Mosheim and Rousset accuse Frederick II as the 
author with the assistance of his Chancellor, Petrus de 
Vineis. Vineis, however, declares himself opposed 
even to the fundamental principles of the book, and in 
his " Epist. Lib. /, ch.ji^p. 211,'''' says he never had 
any idea of it. 

Others place the authorship with Averroes, Peter 
Arretin and Petrus Pomponatius. Heinrich Ernst 
accuses the above mentioned Postel. Postel attributes 
it to Servetus, who, in turn, places it at the door of the 
Huguenot Barnaud. 

The instigator of the treatise, it is claimed, should 
have been Julius Cesar Vanini, who was burned at 
Toulouse in 1619, or Ryswick, who suffered at the 
stake in Rome in 161 2. 


Other persons accused of the authorship are 
Macchiavelli, Rabelais, Erasmus, Milton (John, born 
1608, ) a Mahometan named Merula, Dolet, and 
Giordano Bruno. 

According to Campanella, to whom the authorship 
was attributed occasionally, Muret, or Joh. Franz. 
Poggio, were responsible. Browne says it was 
Bernhard Ochini, and Maresius lays it to Johann 

The "three cheats" are Moses, Jesus and 
Mahomet, but the tracts of each of the latter alleged 
authors treat only of Moses, of whom they say that his 
assertions in Genesis will not hold water, and cannot 
be proved. 

Weller, in his edition of 1876, speaking of the 
copy of 1598, says that this issue should never be 
compared with any of the foregoing. 

Many authors have written " de T rib us Impostor- 
ibus " because they had some special object in view; 
for instance, John Bapt. Morinus, when he edited, 
under the name of Vincentius Panurgius, in Paris, 
1654, an argument against Gassendi. Neure, and 

Joh. Evelyn with a "■ Historia de t^'ibus hujus se 
cult famosis Impostoribus^'''' Padre Ottoraano, 
Mahomed Bei, otherwise Joh. Mich. Cigala, and 
Sabbatai Sevi (English 1680, German 1669, ) fChristian 

fTHE History of the Three Infamous Impostors of this Age. 

1. Padre Ottomano, a pretended son of the Sultan of Turkey who 
flourished about 1650, and who latterly, under the above title, became a 
Dominican Friar. 

2. Mahomed Bei., alias Joannes Michael Cigala, who masqueraded 
as a Prince of the Ottoman family, a descendant of the Emperor Solyman 
the Magnificent, and in other characters about 1660. 

3. Sabatai Sevi, the pretended Messiah of the Jews, " the Only and 
First-borne Son of God," who amused the Jews and Turks about 1666. 


Kortholt " f/e Tribtis Impostoribus Magnus,'" (Kiel 
1680 and Hamburg 1701,) against Herbert, Hobbes 
and Spinosa, Hadrian Beverland, Perini del Vago, 
Equitis de Malta, '■'■ Efistolium ad Batavum in 
Brittania hospitem de tribus Impost oribus, (Latin 
and English 1709.) 

Finally, Michael Alberti, under the name of 
Andronicus, published a " Tractatus Medico-historicus 
de fn'bi/s Impostoribits,''^ which he named the three 
great Tempters of Humanity: i. Tea and Coffee. 
2. Laziness. 3. Home apothecaries. 

Cosmopoh Bey (Peter Martin Roman), issued at 
Russworn in Rostock in 1731, and a new edition of 
same treatise — De Trib. Imp. — 1738 and 1756. 

For a long time scholars confused the genuine 
Latin treatise with a later one. De la Monnoye 
fabricated a long dissertation in which he denied the 
existence of the original Latin edition, but received a 
well merited refutation at the hands of P. F. Arpe. 

The false book is French — " La vie et F esprit de 
Mr. Benoit Spinoza.'""^ The author of the first part 

*La vie et V esprit de VV. Benoit de Sfinosa was published without 
the author's name, in Amsterdam 1719. In the " Preface du Copiste " it is 
stated that the author of it is not known, but that if a conjecture might be 
permitted it might be said, perhaps with certitude, that the book is the 
work of the late Mr. Lucas, so famous for his Quintessences and for his 
manners and way of living. 

Kuno Fischer, in his Descartes und seine schule. Zweiter theil, 
Heidelberg, 1889, p. loi, says: 

"The real author of the work is not known with entire certainty; 
probably the author was Lucas, a physician at the Hague, notorious in his 
own day; others name as author a certain Vroese." 

Freudenthal, in his Die Lebensgeschichte Spinoza s. Leipzig, 1899, 
writing of the various conjectures as to the authorship of the book, states 
that W. Meyer has lately sought to prove that Johan Louckers, a Hague 
attorney, was the author, but that the authorship had not been settled. 

Oettinger in his Bibliografhie Biografliie Universelle, Bruxelles 
1854, p. 1707, gives Lucas Vroese as the author. 


was Hofrath Vroes, in Hague, and the second was 
written by Dr. Lucas. It made its first appearance at 
Hague 1 7 19, and later in 1721, under the title " de 
Tribus Impostoribus,^'' des Trois Imposteurs. Frank- 
fort-on-the-Main at the expense of the Translator (i. e. 
Rotterdam. ) 

Richard la Selve prepared a third edition under 
the original title of " The Life of Spinoza," by one of 
his Disciples. Hamburgh (really in Holland,) 1735. 

In 1768 there was printed by M. M. Rey, at 
Amsterdam, a new edition called a " Treatise of the 
Three Impostors;" immediately after another edition 
appeared at Yverdoner 1768, another in Holland 1775, 
and a later one in Germany 1777. 

The contents of " L'esprit de Spinoza" (German) 
bj' Spinoza II, or Subiroth Sopim — Rome, by Widow 
Bona Spes 5770 — (Vieweg in Berlin 1787,) are briefly 
Chap. I, Concerning God. Chap. II, Reasons why 
men have created an invisible Being which is commonly 
called God. Chap. Ill, What the word Religion 
signifies, and how and why so many of these Religions 
have crept into the world. Chap. IV, Evident truths. 
Chap.V, Of the Soul. Chap.VI, Of Ghosts, Demons, 
etc. Then follows fifteen chapters which are not in 
the treatise ( .? Edition 1598.) 

It has also been suggested that Lucas and Vroese were two men and 
together wrote the book. 

The authority for ascribing the book to Vroese, of whose life no 
particulars seem to have been recorded, appears to be the following passage 
in the Dictionnaire Historique, par Prosper Marchand, a la Haye, 1758, 
V. 1., p. 352: 

" A la fin d'une copie manuscrit de ce Traits que j'ai vue et lue, on 
lui donne pour veritable Auteur a Mr. Vroese, conseiller de la cour de 
Brabant k la Haie, dont Aymon et Rousset retoucherent le langage; et que 
ce dernier y ajouta la Dissertation ou R'eponse depuis imprim^e chez Scheur- 

The name " Vroese " appears at the side of colophon at end of our 

translation, but probably as a reference only. 


The following became known by reason of peculi- 
arities of their diction: i. RidiciiJiim et itnposturae 
hi 0111711 homimim religione, scriptio paiadoxa, quant 
ex aiitographo gallico Victoris Amadei Verimontii ob 
smnmani rei digiiitatevi in latimim sermoneii trans- 
t til it ttt 1746. Which according to Masch consists of 
from five to six sheets and follows the general contents, 
but not in the order of the original edition. 2. A second. 
^uaedam deficiuut, s. fragmentum de libro de tribus 
impostoribus. Fifty-one pages is a fragment. 3. One 
mentioned by Gottsched. De impost 11 ris religionutti 
breve. Coiupeiidiiiin descriptum ab exeiiiplari MSto. 
quod in Bibliotheca Jo. Fried. Alayeri, Berolini Ao. 
IJ16, publice disti-acta deprehensum et a Principe 
Eugenio de Sabaudio 80 Imperialibus redemtum fuit. 
(forty-three pages.) The greater part of the real 
book in thirty-one paragraphs, the ending of which is 
Communes namque demonstratio?ies, quae publicantur, 
nee certae, nee evidenfes, s!/?it, et res dubias per alias 
saepe niagias dubias pivbant., adeo ut exemplo 
eorum, qui circulum currunt, ad terminum semper 
redeant, a quo currere inceperunt . Finis."- A 
German translation of this is said to be in existence. 
4. According to a newspaper report of 1716^ there also 
should exist an edition which begins : ,'^uamvis om- 
nium hominem intersit nosse veritatem, rari tamen 
boni illi qui eam norunt, etc.,^ and ends, ^ui veritatis 
amantes sunt, multum solatii inde capienf, et hi sunt, 
quibus placere gestimus, nil curantes mancipia, quae 
praejudicia oraculorum — infallibilium loco vener- 

a This is probably a Latin edition of the original manuscript from 
which our translation was made. — Ed. 

i See translation Chap, i "Of God," first two lines. 


5. Straube in Vienna made a reprint of the 
edition of 1598 in 1753. 

6. A new reprint is contained in a pamphlet 
edited by C. C. E. Schmid and almost entirely con- 
fiscated, entitled : Zwei seltene antistipernaturalis- 
tiscke nianuscripte. Two rare anti-supernaturalistic 
manuscripts. (Berlin, Krieger in Giessen, 1792.) 

7. There recently appeared through W. F. 
Genthe an edition, De impostura religionum compen- 
diutn s. liber de tribus impostoribus, Leipsic, 1833. 

8. Finally, through Gustav Brunet of Bordeaux 
an edition founded upon the text of the 1598 edition 
was produced with the title, de Tribus Impostoribus, 
MDIIC. Latin text collated from the copy of the 
Duke de la Valliere, now in the Imperial Library ;* 
enlarged with different readings from several manu- 


Title, "Literary Forgeries." 
" The Due de la Valliere and the Abbe de St. Leger, once concerted 
together to supply the eager purchaser of literary rarities with a copy of 
" De Tribus Impostoribus," a book, by the date, pretended to have been 
printed in 1598, though probably a modern forgery of 1698. The title of 
such a book had long existed by rumor, but never was a copy seen by man. 
Works printed with this title have all been proved to be modern fabrica- 
tions — a copy however of the 'introuvable' original was sold at the Due de 
la Valliere's sale. The history of this volume is curious. The Due and the 
Abbe having manufactured a text had it printed in the old Gothic character, 
under the title ' De Tribus Impostoribus.' They proposed to put the great 
bibliopobet, De Bure, in good humor, whose agency would sanction the im- 
position. They were afterwards to dole out copies at 25 louis each, which 
would have been a reasonp.ble price for a book which no one ever saw ! 
They invited De Bure to dinner, flattered and cajoled him, and, as they 
imagined at the moment they had wound him up to their pitch, they 
exhibited their manufacture — the keen-eyed glance of the renowned cata- 
loguer of the ' Bibliographie Instructive' instantly shot like lightning over 
it, and fike lightning, destroyed the whole edition. He not only discov- 
ered the forgery but reprobated it! He refused his sanction; and the 
forging Due and Abbe, in confusion suppressed the ' livre introuvable ' ; 
but they owed a grudge to the honest bibliographer and attempted to 
write down the work whence the De Bures derive their fame." 


scripts, etc., and philologic and bibliographical notes 
by Philomneste Junior, Paris, 1861 ( ?i867 ). Only 237 
copies printed, and is out of print and rare. 

9. An Italian translation of the same appeared 
in 1864 by DaeUi in Milan with title as above. 

10. A Spanish edition also exists taken from the 
same source and under the same title. London (Bur- 
deos) 1823. 

Note. All the preceding Bibliography is from the 
edition of Emil Weller, Heilbronn 1876. — A. N. 

The only edition known to have been printed in 
the United States was entitled "The Three Impos- 
tors." Translated (with notes and illustrations) from 
the French edition of the work, published at Amster- 
dam, 1776. Repubhshed by G. Vale, Beacon OfKce, 
3 Franklin Square, New York, 1846, 84pp. 12°. A 
copy is in the Congressional Library at Washington. 

From this I transcribe the following notes : 


We publish this valuable work, for the reasons 
contained in the following Note, of which we approve: 


The following little book I present to the reader 
without any remarks on the different opinions relative 
to its antiquity; as the subject is amply discussed in the 
body of the work, and constitutes one of its most 
interesting and attractive features. The Edition from 
which the present is translated was brought me from 


Paris by a distinguished defender of Civil and Religious 
Liberty: and as my friend had an anxiety from a 
thorough conviction of its interest and value, to see it 
published in the English Language, I have from like 
feelings brought it before the public, and I am convinced 
that it is eminently calculated to promote the cause of 
Freedom, Justice and Morality. 

J. Myles. 


The Translator of the following little treatise 
deems it necessary to say a few words as to the object 
of its publication. It is given to the world, neither 
with a view to advocate Scepticism, nor to spread 
Infidelity, but simply to vindicate the right of private 
judgment. No human being is in a position to look 
into the heart, or to decide correctly as to the creed or 
conduct of his fellow mortals ; and the attributes of the 
Deity are so far beyond the grasp of limited reason, 
that man must become a God himself before he can 
comprehend them. Such being the case, surely all 
harsh censure of each other's opinions and actions 
ought to be abandoned; and every one should so train 
himself as to be enabled to declare with the humane 
and manly philosopher 

" Homo sum, nihil humania me alienum puto^ 

Dundee, September 1844. 

The Vale production is evidently translated from 
an edition derived from the Latin manuscript which is 
the basis of the translation given in this volume. The 
variations in the text of each not being important, but 


simply due to the different modes of expression of the 
translators — the ideas conveyed being the same. 

The Treatise in Vale's edition concludes with the 

" Happy the man who, studying Nature's laws, 
Through known effects can trace the secret cause ; 
His mind possessing in a quiet state, 
Fearless of Fortune, and resigned to Fate." 

— Dry den s Virgil. Georgics Book II, I. 700. 

There is also in the Library of Congress a volume 
entitled " Traite des Trots Imposteurs.'''' En Suisse 
de rifnprimerie pMlosophique — 1793. Boards 3^x5! 
inches, containing the Treatise proper 112 pp. Sen- 
timens stir le traite des trois imposteurs, (De la 
Monnaye ) 32 pp. Response a la dissertation de M. 
de la Monnaye 19 pp. signed J. L. R. L. and dated at 
Leyden i Jan., 17 16, to which this note is appended: 
"This letter is from Sieur Pierre Frederic Arpe, of 
Kiel, in Holstein, author of the apology of Vanini, 
printed at Rotterdam in 8°, 1712." The letter con- 
tains the account of the discovery of the original Latin 
manuscript at Frankfort-on-the-Main, in substance 
much the same as the translation given in this edition. 

In the copy at the Congressional Library, I find 
the following manuscript notes which may be rendered 
as follows; "Voltaire doubted the existence of this 
work, this was in 1767. See his letter to his Highness 

Monseigneur The Prince of . Letter V, 

Vol. 48 of his works, p. 312." 

See Barbier Diet, des ouv. anon. Nos. 18250, 
19060, 21612. 

De Tribus Impostoribus. Anon. 

U esprit de Spinosa trad, du latin par Vroes. 


In connection with this latter note, and observing 
the name written at end of the colophon of the manu- 
script from which the present edition is translated, it is 
probable that this same Vroese was the author of 
another translation. 

Another remarkable copy is contained in the 
Library of Congress, the title page of which is dis- 
played as follows : 








(T apres F analyse conforme h P histoire. 

nombre d'observations morales, analogues a celles mises 
h I'ordre du jour, pour rafTermissement de la Republique, 
sa gloire, et I'edification des peuples de tous les pays. 


sous r auspices du general WASHINGTHON 


A PARIS ckez le citoyen MERCIER, homme de lettres, 

rue du Cocq Honort, No. 120, 

LONDON, at M Miller, libryre, Boon Street, 



Note. — This edition has undoubtedly been translated from the original Latin 
manuscript. — A. N. 

Translation. Treatise of the Three Impostors of the governing Religions and 
worship, after an examination conformable to history, containing a number of moral 
observations, analogous to those placed in the order of the day for the support of the 
republic, its glory, and the edification of the people of all countries. Ornamented with 
three engravings. At Philadelphia under the auspices of General Washington, and may 
be found at Paris at the house of Citizen Mercier (Claude Francois Xavier*), man of 
letters, 120 Cocq Houori^ street, and at London at Mr. Miller's, bookseller, Boon street^ 
Piccadelly, 1796. 

*The names are noted on title page in pencil. 



On the following page may be found the follow- 



^ V :Btre supreme g 





Religions Dominantes 

Chapter I. Concerning God, 6 paragraphs. 

Chapter II. Reasons, etc., 11 " 

Chapter III. Religious, 9 


" Les pretres ne sont pas ce qu'un vain peuple pense 
Notre cr^dulit^ fait toute leur science." 

Priests are not what vain people think, 
Our credulity makes all their science. 

Chapter IV. Moses, ' 2 paragraphs. 

Chapter V. Jesus Christ, 10 " 

Paragraph 2. Politics; paragraph 6. Morals. 

Chapter VI. Mahomet, 2 paragraphs. 

Chapter VII. Evident Truths, 6 " 

Chapter VIII. The Soul, 7 " 

Chapter IX. Demons, 7 " 

* The French nation recognize the Supreme Being, the Immortality 
of the Soul, and the Freedom of Worship. 
Treatise of the Dominant Religions. 


Facing page twenty-seven is a medallion copper 
plate of Moses, around which are these words (trans- 
lated): "Moses saw God in the burning bush," and 
beneath the following from Voltaire' s Pucelle (trans- 

Alone on the summit of the mysterious mount 

As he desired, he closed his fortieth year. 

Then Suddenly he appeared upon the plain 

With buck's horns* shining on his forehead. 

Which brilliant miracle in the mind of the philosopher 

Created a prompt effect." 

In a note to par. II. occur the following lines 
which translated read : 

" How many changes a revolution makes : 
Heaven has brought us forth in happy time 

To see the world Here the weak Italian 

Is frightened at the sight of a stole : 

The proud Frenchman astonished at nothing 

Boldly goes to defy the Pope at his capital 

And the grand Turk in turban, like a good Christian, 

Recites the prayers of his faith 

And prays to God for the pagan Arab, 

Having no thought of any kind of expedient 

Nor means to destroy altars and idol worship. 

The Supreme Being his only and sole support. 

Does not exact for offering a single coin 

From any sect, from Jew nor plebeian : 

What need has He of Temple or archbishop ? 

The heart of the just and the general good 

Shines like a brilliant sun on the halo of glory." 

Then follows a "Bouquet for the Pope" : 

" Thou whom flatterers have invested with a vain title, 
Shalt thou at this late day become the arbiter of Europe.? 
Charitable pontiff, and friend of humanity, 
Having so many sovereigns as fathers of families, 

*In old prints Moses is alwajs depicted with horns on his forehead. 


The successors of Christ, in the midst of the sanctuary- 
Have they not placed unblushingly, incest and adultery ? 
Be this the last of imposture and thy last sigh. 
Do thyself more honor, esteem and pleasure. 
Than all the monuments erected to the glory 
Of thy predecessors in the temple of memory. 
Let them read on thy tomb ' he was worthy of love. 
The father of the Church and oracle of the day.'' " 

On the following page is a copper plate profile 
portrait of Pius VI. surrounded by the words '■'■Sena- 
tus Populus ^ue Romanus.'''' At the side Principis 
Ecclesiae dotes vis Cernere Magni. (Senate and 
People of Rome — Prince of the Church endowed with 
power and great wisdom.) Beneath : 

" The talents of the learned and the virtues of the wise, 

A noble and beneficent manner with which all are charmed. 
Depict much better than this image 
The true portrait of Pius VI." 

Facing page fifty-one is a copper plate portrait of 
Mahomet, and beneath this tribute : 

Know you not yet, weak and superb man. 
That the humble insect hidden beneath a leaf 
And the imperious eagle who flies to heaven's dome, 
Amount to nothing in the eyes of the Eternal. 
All men are equal : not birth but virtue 
Distinguishes them apart." 

Then there are inserted a number of verses, some 

of the titles reading: 

" Homage to the Supreme Being." 

" Voltaire Admitted to Heaven." 

" Homage to the Eternal Father." 

" Bouquet to the Archbishop of Paris." 

" Infinite Mercy — Consolation for Sinners." 

" Lots of Room in Heaven." 

" The Holy Spirit Absent from Heaven," etc. 


Concluding with "A Picture of France at the 
Time of the Revolution." 

" Nobility without souls, a fanatical clergy. 
Frightful tax gatherers gnawing a plucked people. 
Faith and customs a prey to designing persons. 
A price set upon the head of the Chancellor (Maupeou). 
The skeleton of a perfidious Senate. 
Not daring to punish a parricidal conspiracy. 
O, my country! O, France! Thy miseries 
Have even drawn tears from Rome.* 
If you have no Republic, and no pure legislators 
Like exist in America, to deliver you from the oppression 
Of a tyrannous empire of knaves, brigands and robbers ; 
Like the British cabinet and the skillful Pitt, chief of flatterers. 
Who with his magic lantern fascinates even the wise ones. 
This clique will soon be seen to fall, if the French become the 

Of this ancient slavery, and show themselves the proud 

Of their musical Carmagnole. 
In the name of kings and emperors, how much iniquity and 

Which are recorded in history, cause the reader to shudder 

with fright. 
The entrance of friends in Belgium, to the eyes of those who 

Is it not an unique epoch ? 

And this most flattering tie, sustained by a heroic compact. 
Will be the desire of all hearts. 

under the protection of Congress. 

Bound in this volume is a pamphlet entitled "La 
Fable de Christ devoilee." Paris : Franklin Press. 
75 Rue de Clery. 2nd year of the Republic. Also, 

* When they weep at Rome, they do not laugh in Paris. 


"Eloge non-funebre de Jesus et du Christian- 
ISME. Printed on the dibris of the Bastille, and the 
funeral pile of the Inqziisition. 2nd year of Liberty, 
and of Christ 1791. 

Another closes the volume: " Lettres Philo- 
SOPHIQUE sur St. Paul : sur sa doctrine, politique, 
morale, & religieuse. & sur plusieurs points de la 
religion chretienne considerees politiquement. (J. P. 
Brissot de Warville.) Translated from the English 
by the philosopher de Ferney and found in the port- 
folio of M. V. his ancient secretary. Neuchatel en 
Suisse 1783. 

Note translated from the edition '■'■En Suisse, de 
r imprimerie philosophiqjie,^'' 1793. 

In a response to M. de la Monnoye, who labor- 
iously endeavored to refute the existence of the treatise 
entitled "The Three Impostors," and vv^hich reply in 
addition to M. de la Monnoye' s arguments appear in 
connection with some of the translations of the treatise, 
occurs the following introduction to the account of the 
discovery of the original manuscript : " I have by me 
a more certain means of overturning this dissertation 
of M. de la Monnoye, when I inform him that I have 
read this celebrated little work and that I have it in my 
library. I will give you and the public an account of 
the manner in which I discovered it, and as it is in my 
possession I will subjoin a short but faithful description 
of it." 

Here follows a summary of the contents and the 
Dissertation, in substance the same as our manuscript ; 
the response concluding as follows : 

" Such is the anatomy of this celebrated work. I 
might have given it in a manner more extended and 


more minute ; but besides that this letter is already too 
long, I think that enough has been said to give insight 
into the nature of its contents. A thousand other 
reasons which you will well enough understand, have 
prevented me from entering upon it to so great length 
as I could have done ; " Est modus in rebus. ''^* 

"Now although this book were ready to be printedf 
with the preface in which I have given its history, and 
its discovery, with some conjectures as to its origin, 
and a few remarks which may be placed at its conclu- 
sion, yet I do not beheve that it will live to see the day 
when men will be compelled all at once to quit their 
opinions and their imaginations, as they have quitted 
their syllogisms, their canons, and their other anti- 
quated modes. As for me I will' not expose myself to 
the Theological stylus\ — which I fear as much as Fra- 
Poula feared the Roman stylus — to afford to a few 
learned men the pleasure of reading this little treatise ; 
but neither will I be so superstitious, on my death bed, 
as to cause it to be thrown into the flames, which we 
are informed was done by Salvius, the Swedish am- 

* There is a measure in everytliing, 

t As to the frintivg of the boolc they can bring forward no proof 
whatever of its having being done prior to this date (1716) and it is 
impossible to conceive that Fredericli, surrounded as he was by enemies, 
would have circulated a work which gave a fair opportunity of proclaim- 
ing his infidelity. It is probable therefore that there were only two 
copies, the original one and that sent to Otho of Bavaria. J. L. R. L. 

X This phrase is frequently employed to express ecclesiastical criti- 
cism. Its first application however had a more pungent meaning. The 
individual here alluded to having boldly assailed the errors of the Church 
was attacked one evening by an assassin. Fortunately the blow did not 
prove fatal ; but the weapon (a stylus, or dagger, which is also the Latin 
name for a pen) having been left in the wound, on his recovery he wore it 
in his girdle labelled, "The Theological Stylus," or Pen of the Church. 
The trenchant powers of this instrument have more frequently been em- 
ployed to repress truth, than to refute, argument. 


bassador, at the peace of Munster. Those who come 
after me may do what seems to them good — they can 
not disturb me in the tomb. Before I descend to that, 
I remain with much respect, your most obedient ser- 
vant, J. L. R. L. 

" Leyden, ist January, 1716." 

This letter was written by Mr. Pierre Frederick 
Arpe, of Kiel, in Holstein ; the author of an apology 
for Vanini, printed in octavo at Rotterdam, 17 12. 


More than four hundred years have elapsed since 
this Httle treatise was first mentioned, the title of which 
has always caused it to be qualified as impious, pro- 
fane and worthy of the fire. I am convinced that none 
of those who have mentioned it have read it, and after 
having examined it carefully, it can only be said that it 
is written with as much discretion as the matter would 
allow to a man persuaded of the falsehood of the things 
which he attacked, and protected by a powerful prince, 
under whose direction he wrote. 

There have been but few scholars whose religious 
beliefs were dubious, who have not been credited with 
the authorship of this treatise. 

Avervoes, a famous Arabian commentator on Aris- 
totle's works, and celebrated for his learning, was the 
first to whom this production was attributed. He lived 
about the middle of the twelfth century when the 
"three iinpostors " were first spoken of. He was not 
a Christian, as he treated their religion as "the Im- 
possible," nor a Jew, whose law he called "a Religion 
for Children," nor a Mahometan, for he denominated 
their belief "a Religion for Hogs." He finally died a 
Philosopher, that is to say, without having subscribed 
to the opinions of the vulgar, and that was sufficient to 
pubHsh him as the enemy of the law makers of the 
three Religions that he had scorned. 

yean Bocala, an ItaHan scholar of a happy dis- 
position, and consequently not much imbued with 


bigotry, flourished in the middle of the fourteenth cen- 
tury. A fable that he ventured in one of his works, 
concerning "Three Rings," has been regarded as evi- 
dence of this execrable book whose author was looked 
for, and this was considered sufficient to attribute the 
authorship to him long after his death. 

Michael Servetus, burned at Geneva (1553) by 
the pitiless persecution of Mr. John Calvin, he not 
having subscribed either the Trinity or the Redeemer, 
it became proper to attribute to him the production of 
this impious volume. 

Etienne Dolit, a printer at Paris, and who ranked 
among the learned, was led to the stake — to which he 
had been condemned as a Calvinist in 1543 — with a 
courage comparable to that of the first martyrs. He 
therefore merited to be treated as an atheist, and was 
honored as the author of the pamphlet against the 
"Three Impostors." 

Lucilio Vanini, a Neapolitan, and the most noted 
atheist of his time, if his enemies may be believed, 
fairly proved before his judges — however he may have 
been convinced — the truth of a Providence, and conse- 
quently a God. It sufficed however for the persecution 
of his enemies, the Parliament of Toulouse, who con- 
demned him to be burned as an atheist, and also to 
merit the distinction of having composed, or at least 
having revived, the book in question. 

I am not sure but what Ochini and Postel, 
Pomponiac and Poggio the Florentine, and Campan- 
ella, all celebrated for some particular opinion con- 
demned by the Church of their time, were for that 
reason accused as atheists, and also adjudged without 
trouble, the authors of the little truth for whom a 
parent was sought. 


All that famous critics have published from time 
to time of this book has excited the curiosity of the 
great and wise to determine the author, but without 

I beheve that several treatises printed with the title 
'■'■ de Tribus Impostoribus,''^ such as that of Kortholt 
against Spinosa, Hobbes and the Baron Cherbourg ; 
that of the false Panurge against Messieurs Gastardi, 
de Neure and Bernier have furnished many opportuni- 
ties for an infinity of half-scholars who only speak from 
hearsay, and who often judge a book by the first line 
of the title. I have, like many others who have 
examined this work, done so in a superficial manner. 
Though I am a delver in antiquities, and a decipherer 
of manuscript, chance having caused the pamphlet to 
fall into my hands at one time, I avow that I gave 
neither thought to the production nor to its author. 

Some business affairs having taken me to Frank- 
fort-on-t he-Ma in about the month of April, (1706), 
that is about fifteen days after the Fair, I called on a 
friend named Frecht, a Lutheran theological student, 
whom I had known in Paris. One day I went to his 
house to ask him to take me to a bookseller where he 
could serve me as interpreter. We called on the way 
on a Jew who furnished me with money and who 
accompanied us. 

Being engaged in looking over a catalog at the 
book store, a German officer entered the shop, and said 
to the bookseller without any form of compliment, 
" If among all the devils I could find one to agree with 
you, I would still go and look for another dealer." 
The bookseller replied that " 500 Rix dollars was an 
excessive price, and that he ought to be satisfied with 
the 450 that he offered." The officer told him to "go 


to the Devil," as he would do nothing of the sort, 
and was about to leave. Frecht, who recognized him 
as a friend, stopped him and having renewed his 
acquaintance, was curious to know what bargain he 
had concluded with the bookseller. The officer care- 
lessly drew from his pocket a packet of parchment tied 
by a cord of yellow silk. " I wanted," said he, "500 
Rix dollars to satisfy me for three manuscripts which 
are in this package, but Mr. Bookseller does not wish 
to give but 450." Frecht asked if he might see the 
curiosities. The officer took them from his pocket, 
and the Jew and myself who had been merely spectators 
now became interested, and approached Frecht, who 
held the three books. 

The first which Frecht opened was an Italian 
imprint of which the title was missing, and was 
supplied by another written by hand which read 

" Sfecchia della Bestia Triomphante.^'' The 
book did not appear of ancient date, and had on the 
title neither year nor name of printer. 

We passed to the second, which was a manuscript 
without title, the first page of which commenced 
" OTHONI illustrissinio amico meo charissimo. 
F. I. s. d." This embraced but two lines, after which 
followed a letter of which the commencement was 
" ^uodde tribus famosissimis Nationum Deceptoribus 
in ordinem. jfustu. vieo digesti Doctissimus ille vir, 
que cum Sermonem de ilia re in Museo meo habuisti 
exscribi curavi atque codicem ilium stilo aeque^ vero 
ac puro scriptum ad te ut primum mitto, etenim ipsius 
per legendi te accipio cupidissimzifn.'''' 

The other manuscript was also Latin, and without 
title like the other. It commenced with these words 
— from Cicero if I am not mistaken: ^'' An. I. liber 


de Nat. Deor. ^ui Deos esse dixerunt tantu sunt in 
Varietate et dissentione constitzdi ut eorum molestum 
sit dinumerare sententias. Altidtim freri profecto 
potest ut eorum nulla, alterum certi non potest ut plus 
unum vera fit. Sufnmi quos in Republica obtinnerat 
honores otator ille Romanus, ea que qua^n servare 
famam Studiote curabat, in causa fuere quod in 
Condone Deos non ansus sit negare quamquam in 
contesta Philosophorum, etc.''^ 

We paid but little attention to the Italian pro- 
duction, which only interested our Jew, who assured 
us that it was an invective against Religion. We 
examined several phrases of the latter by which we 
mutually agreed that it was a system of Demonstrated 
Atheism. The second, which we have mentioned, 
attracted our entire attention, and Frecht having 
persuaded his friend, whose name was Tausendorff, 
not to take less than 500 Rix dollars, we left the book- 
seller's shop, and Frecht, who had his own ideas, took 
us to his inn, where he proposed to his friend to empty 
a bottle of good wine together. Never did a German 
decUne a Hke proposition, so Frecht immediately 
ordered the wine, and asked Tausendorff to tell us 
how these manuscripts fell into his possession. 

After enjoying his portion of six bottles of old 
Moselle, he told us that after the victory at Hochstadt* 
and the flight of the Elector of Bavaria, he was one of 
those who entered Munich, and in the palace of His 
Highness, he went from room to room until he reached 
the library. Here his eyes fell by chance on the pack- 
age of parchments with the silk cord, and believing 
them to be important papers or curiosities, he could 
not resist the temptation of putting them in his pocket. 

*Sep. 20, 1703. 


He was not deceived when he opened the package and 
convinced himself. This recital was accompanied by 
many soldier-like digressions, as the wine had a little 
disarranged the judgment of Tausendorff. Frecht, 
who, during the story, perused the manuscript, took 
the chance of a refusal by asking his friend to allow 
him to take the book until the next day. Tausendorff, 
whom the wine had made generous, consented to the 
request of Frecht, but he exacted a terrible oath that 
he would neither copy it or cause it to be done, prom- 
ising to come for it on Sunday and empty some more 
bottles of wine, which he found to his taste. 

This obliging officer had no sooner left than we 
commenced to decipher it. The writing was so small, 
full of abbreviations, and without punctuation, that we 
were nearly two hours in reading the first page, but as 
soon as we were accustomed to the method we com- 
menced to read it more easily. I found it so accurate 
and written with so much care, that I proposed to 
Frecht an equivocal method of making a copy without 
violating the oath which he had taken : which method 
was to make a translation. The conscience of a theo- 
logian did not but find difficulties in such proposal, but 
I removed them as I could, assuming the sin myself, 
and in the end he consented to work on the translation 
which was finished before the time fixed by Tausen- 

This is the way in which this book came into our 
hands. Many would have desired to possess the orig- 
inal but we were not rich enough to buy it. The 
bookseller had a commission from a Prince of the 
House of Saxony, who knew that it had been taken 
from the library at Munich, and he was to spare no 
effort to secure it, if he found it, by paying the 500 


Rix dollars to Tausendori? who went away several 
days after, having regaled us in his turn. 

Passing to the origin of the book, and its author, 
one can hardly give an account of either only by con- 
sulting the book itself in which but little is found 
except for the base of conjecture. There is only a 
letter at the beginning, and which is written in another 
character from the rest of the book, which gives any 
light. We find it addressed OTHONI, Illustrissimo. 
The place where the manuscript was found, and the 
name OTHO put together warrants the belief that 
it was addressed to the Ilhistrious Otho, lord of 
Bavaria. This prince was grandson of Otho, the 
Great; Count of Schiren and Witelspach from 
whom the House of Bavaria and the Palatine had 
their origin. The Emperor Frederick Barbarossa* 
had given him Bavaria for his fidelity, after having 
taken it from Henry the Lion to punish him for 
his inconsistency in taking the part of his enemies. 
Louis I. succeeded his father, Otho the Great, 
and left Bavaria — in the possession of which he 

^Frederick Barbarossa was Emperor of Germany in 1152 and was 
drowned during Crusade in Syria June 10, 1190. He created Henry the 
Lion (? Henry VI.) Duke of Bavaria in 1154, expelled him in 1180, and 
Henry died 1195. 

Otho the Great, Count of Witelspach, was made Duke of Bavaria 
1180, and died 1183. He was the grandfather of Otho the Illustrions, who 
gained the Palatinate and was assassinated in 1231. He married the 
daughter of Henry the Lion about 1230. 

Henry VI succeeded to the Empire on death of his father, Frederick 
Barbarossa, 1190, and died 1195 — that is if Henry the Lion and Henry VI 
are identical. 

Frederick II, son of Henry VI, began to reign (?) 1195, and was 
living 1243. 

The succession of Popes during the period 1152-1254 (Haydn's Diet, 
of Dates) , was as follows : 

Anastasius IV, 1153, Adrian IV, 1154, (Nicholas Brakespeare, the 
only Englishman elected Pope. Frederick 1. prostrated himself before him, 



had been disturbed by Henry the Lion — to his son 
Otho, surnamed the Ilhistrious, who assured his 
possession by wedding the daughter of Henry. This 
happened about the year 1230, when Frederick II., 
Emperor of Germany, returned from Jerusalem, 
where, at the soUcitation of Pope Gregory IX., he had 
pursued the war against the Saracens, and from 
whence he returned irritated to excess against the Holy 
Father who had incensed his army against him, as well 
as the Templars and the Patriarch of yernsalem, until 
the Emperor refused to obey the Pope. 

Otho the Ilhcstrious recognizing the obligations 
that his family were under to the family of the Emperor, 
took his part and remained firmly attached to him, 
notwithstanding all the vicissitudes of fortune of 

Why these historical reminiscences.'^ To sustain 
the conjecture that it was to this Otho the Illustrious 
that this copy of the pamphlet of the Three Impostors 
was addressed. By whom.? This is why we are led 
to believe that the F. I. s. d which follows Uamico 
meo carissimo, and which we interpret FREDERICUS. 

kissed his foot, held his stirrup, and led the white palfrey on which he 

Alexander III. 1159, (Canonized Thomas i. Becket and resisted 
Frederick I.) VictorV. 1159, Pascal III. 1164, Calixtus III. u68, Lucius 
III. 1 181. 

Urban III. I185, (offosed Frederick I.) Gregory VIII. (2 months) 
1187. Clement III. 1187, proclaimed third Crusade. 

Celestin III. 1191. Innocent III. 1198, excommunicated John, King 
of England. Honorius III. 1216, learned and pious. Gregory IX. 1227, 
preached new Crusade. Celestine IV. 1241. Innocent IV. 1243-1254 
{opposed Frederick II.) 

If Frederick II. caused pamphlet to be written about 1230, it could not 
have been burned by Honorius III., who reigned as Pope 1216-1227, but by 
Gregory IX, who reigned 1227-1241, who sent Frederick II. to the Cru- 
sades, upset his affairs while he was gone, and against whom the "Disser- 
tation '' says the pamphlet was written. 



Iiuperator sahitem Domino. Thus this would be by 
The Emperor Frederick II., son of Henry IV. and 
grandson of Frederick Bafbarossa, who, succeeding 
to their Empire, had at the same time inherited the 
hatred of the Roman Pontiffs.* 

Those who have read the history of the Church 
and that of the Empire, will recall with what pride and 
arrogance the indolent Alexander III. placed his foot 
on the neck of Frederick Barbarossa, who came to 
him to sue for peace. Who does not know the evil 
that the Holy See did to his son Henry VI., against 
whom his own wife took up arms at the persuasion of 
the Pope.? At last Frederick II. uniting in himself all 
the resolution which was wanting in his father and 
grandfather, saw the purpose of Gregory IX., who 
seemed to have marshalled on his side all the hatred of 
Alexander, Innocent and Honorius against his 
Imperial Majesty . One brought the steel of persecu- 
tion, and the other the lightning of excommunication, 
and furiously they vied with each other in circulating 
infamous libels. This, it seems to me, is warrant 
sufficient to apply these happenings to the belief that 
this book was by order of the Emperor, who was 
incensed against religion by the vices of its Chief, and 
written by the Doctissimus vir, who is mentioned in the 

*Carlyle, in his " I-tistory of Frederick II. of Prussia, called 
Frederick the Great," mentions Hermann von der Saltza, a new sagacious 
Teutsclimeister or Hochmeister (so tiiey call the head of the Order) of tlie 
Teutonic Knights, a far-seeing, negotiating man, who during his long 
Mastership (A. D. 1210-1239,) is mostly to be found at Venice and not at 
Acre or Jerusalem. 

He is very great with the busy Kaiser, Frederick II., Barbarossa's 
grandson, who has the usual quarrels with the Pope, and is glad of such a 
negotiator, statesman as well as armed monk. A Kaiser not gone on the 
Crusade, as he had vowed : Kaiser at last suspected of free thinking even : — 
in which matters Hermann much serves the Kaiser. — PeofWs Edition, 
Boston, 1885, Vol. 1, f. 92. 



letter as having composed this treatise, and which con- 
sequently owes its existence not so much to a search 
for truth, as to a spirit of hatred and implacable ani- 

This conjecture may be further confirmed by 
remarking that this book was never mentioned only 
since the legime of that Emperor, and even during his 
reign it was attributed him, since Pierre des Vignes, 
his secretary, endeavored to cast this false impression 
on the enemies of his master, saying that they circu- 
lated it to render him odious. 

Now to determine the Doctissiinus vir who is the 
author of the book in question. First, it is certain 
that the epoch of the book was that which we have 
endeavored to prove. Second, that it was encouraged 
by those accused of its authorship, possibly excepting 
Avervoes, who died before the birth of Frederick II. 
All the others lived a long time, even entire centuries 
after the composition of this work. I adinit that it is 
difficult to determine the author only by marking the 
period when the book first made its appearance, and 
in whatever direction I turn, I find no one to whom it 
could more probably be attributed than Pierre des 
Vignes whom I have mentioned. 

If we had not his tract ^' De poteste Imperiali,^'' 
his other epistles suffice to show with what zeal he 
entered into the resentment of Frederick II. ( whose 
Secretary he was) against the Holy See. Those who 
have spoken of him, Ligonius, Trithemus and Rai- 
naldi, furnish such an accurate description of him, his 
condition and his spirit, that after considering this I can- 
not remark but that this evidence favors my conjecture. 
Again, as I have remarked, he himself spoke of this 
book in his epistles, and he endeavored to accuse the 


enemies of his master to lessen the clamor miade to 
encourage the belief that this Prince was the author. 
As he had taken the greater part, he did not greatly 
exert himself to lessen the injurious noise, so that if 
the accusation was strengthened by passing for a long 
time from mouth to mouth it would not fall from the 
Master on his Secretary, who was probably more 
capable of the production than a great Emperor, 
always occupied with the clamors of war and always 
in fear of the thunders of the Vatican. In one word, 
the Emperor, however valiant and resolute, had no 
time to become a scholar like Pierre des Vignes^ who 
had given all the necessary attention to his studies, and 
who owed his position and the affection of his Master 
entirely to his learning. 

I believe that we can conclude from all this, that 
this little book Tribus faniosissimu's Nationuni De- 
ceptoribus ^ for that is its true title, was composed after 
the year 1230 by command of the Emperor Frederick 
II. in hatred of the Court of Rome : and it is quite 
apparent that Pierre des Vignes, Secretary to the Em- 
peror, was the author.'" 

This is all that I deem proper for a preface to this 
little treatise, and as it contains many naughty allusions, 
to prevent that in the future, it may not be again 
attributed to those who perhaps never entertained such 

'^Pierre des Vig7ies, suspected of having conspired against the life 
of the Emperor, was condemned to lose his e3res, and was handed over to 
the inhabitants of Pisa, his cruel enemies: and where despair hastened his 
death in an infamous dungeon where he could hold intercourse with no one. 



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J. < ■ »" ' >. V >\ - - ' 'p: — 


de trie us impostoribus. 37 

Frederick Emperor 

to the ver)' Illustrious Otho 

my very faithful Friend, 

Greeting : 

I have taken the trouble to have copied the Treatise 
which was made concerning the Three Famous 
Impostors, by the learned man by whom you were 
entertained on this subject, in my study, and though 
you have not requested it, I send you the manuscript 
entire, in which the purity of style equals the truth of 
the matter, for I know with what interest you desired 
to read it, and also I am persuaded that nothing could 
please you more. 

It is not the first time that I have overcome my 
cruel enemies, and placed my foot on the neck of the 
Roman Hydra whose skin is not more red than the 
blood of the millions of men that its fury has sacrificed 
to its abominable arrogance. 

Be assured that I will neglect nothing to have you 
understand that I will either triumph or perish in the 
atteinpt; for whatever reverses may happen to me, I 
will not, like my predecessors, bend m}^ knee before 

I hope that my sword, and the fidelity of the 
members of the Empire ; your advice and your assist- 
ance will conti-ibute not a little. But nothing would 
add more if all Germany could be inspired with the 
sentiments of the Doctor — the author of this book. 
This is much to be desired, but where are those 
capable of accompHshing such a project ? I recommend 
to you our common interests, live happy. I shall 
always be your friend. F. I. 



Of God. 

However important it may be for all men to 
know the Truth, very few, nevertheless, are acquainted 
with it, because the majority are incapable of searching 
it themselves, or perhaps, do not wish the trouble. 
Thus we must not be astonished if the world is filled 
with vain and ridiculous opinions, and nothing is more 
capable of making them current than ignorance, which 
is the sole source of the false ideas that exist regarding 
the Divinity, the soul, and the spirit, and all the 
errors depending thereon. 

The custom of being satisfied with born prejudice 
has prevailed, and by following this custom, mankind 
agrees in all things with persons interested in support- 
ing stubbornly the opinions thus received, and who 
would speak , otherwise did they not fear to destroy 

*In " Volney's Lectures on History," it is said: "If a work be 
translated it always receives a colouring which is more or less faint or is 
vivid according to the opinions and ability of the Translator." From 
an examination of other translations of this Treatise, I am assured that 
Volney's statement above has actuated and governed all who have been 
previously engaged with this work. I can assure the readers hereof, that 
the Treatise contained herein is a literal translation of the manuscript and 
the notes found therein, and no liberties have been taken with the text. 

Any additional notes from other sources are so marked. A. N. 




What renders the evil without remedy, is, that 
after having estabUshed these silly ideas of God, 
they teach the people to receive them without examin- 
ation. They take great care to impress them with 
aversion for philosophers, fearing that the Truth 
which they teach will alienate them. The errors in 
which the partisans of these absurdities have been 
plunged, have thrived so well that it is dangerous to 
combat them. It is too important for these irnpostors 
that the people remain in this gross and culpable ignor- 
ance than to allow them to be disabused. Thus they 
are constrained to disguise the truth, or to be sacrificed 
to the rage of false prophets and selfish souls. 


If the people could comprehend the abyss in which 
this ignorance casts them, they would doubtless throw 
off the yoke of these venal minds, since it is impossible 
for Reason to act without immediately discovering the 
Truth. It is to prevent the good effects that would 
certainly follow, that they depict it as a monster 
incapable of inspiring any good sentiment, and how- 
ever we may censure in general those who are not 
reasonable, we must nevertheless be persuaded that 
Truth is quite perverted. These enemies of Truth fall 
also into such perpetual contradictions that it is difficult 
to perceive what their real pretensions are. In the 
meanwhile it is true that Common Sense is the only 
rule that men should follow, and the world should not 
be prevented from making use of it. 

We may try to persuade, but those who are 
appointed to instruct, should endeavor to rectify false 
reasoning and efface prejudices, then will the people 


open their eyes gradually until they become susceptible 
of Truth, and learn that God is not all that they 


To accomplish this, wild speculation is not 
necessary, neither is it required to deeply penetrate the 
secrets of Nature. Only a little good sense is needed to 
see that God is neither passionate nor jealous, that 
justice and mercy are false titles attributed to him, and 
that nothing of what the Prophets and Apostles have 
said constitutes his nature nor his essence. In effect, 
to speak without disguise and to state the case properly, 
it is certain that these doctors were neither more 
clever or better informed than the rest of mankind, 
but far from that, what they say is so gross that it 
must be the people only who would believe them. 

The matter is self-evident, but to make it more 
clear, let us see if they are differently constituted than 
other men. 


As to their birth and the ordinary functions of life, 
it is agreed that the}' possessed nothing above the 
human; that they were born of man and woman and 
lived the same as ourselves. But for mind, it must be 
that God favored thein more than other men, for they 
claimed an understanding more brilliant than others. 
We must admit that mankind has a leaning toward 
bhndness, because it is said that God loved the 
prophets more than the rest of mankind, that he 
frequently communicated with them, and he believed 
them also of good faith. Now if this condition was 
sensible, and without considering that all men 
resembled each other, and that they each had a principle 


equal in all, it was pretended that these prophets were 
of extraordinary attainments and were created expressly 
to utter the oracles of God. But further, if they had 
more wit than common, and more perfect understand- 
ing, what do we find in their writings to obHge us to 
have this opinion of them? 

The greater part of their writings is so obscure 
that it is not understood, and put together in such a 
poor manner that we can hardly believe that they com- 
prehended it themselves, and that they must have been 
very ignorant impostors. That which causes this 
belief of them is that they boasted of receiving directly 
from God all that they announced to the people — an 
absurd and ridiculous behef — and avowing that God 
only spoke to them in dreams. Dreams are quite 
natural, and a person must be quite vain or senseless to 
boast that God speaks to him at such a time, and when 
faith is added, he must be quite credulous since there 
is no evidence that dreams are oracles. Suppose even 
that God manifested himself b)' dreams, by visions, or 
in any other way, are we obliged to beHeve a man who 
may deceive himself, and which is worse, who is 
inclined to lie? 

Now we see that under the ancient law they had 
for prophets none more esteemed than at the present 
day. Then when the people were tired of their 
sophistry, which often tended to turn them from obedi- 
ence to their legitimate Ruler, they restrained them by 
various punishments, just as Jesus was overwhelmed 
because he had not, like Moses," an army at his back 
to sustain his opinions. Added to that, the Prophets 
were so in the habit of contradicting each other that 

«Moses killed at one time 24,000 men for opposing his law. 



among four hundred not one reliable one was to be 
found .* 

It is even certain that the aim of their prophecies, 
as well as the laws of the celebrated legislators were 
to perpetuate their memories by causing mankind to 
believe that they had private conference with God. 
Most political objects have been projected in such 
manner. However, such tricks have not always been 
successful for those, who — with the exception of Moses 
— had not the means of providing for their safety. 


This being determined, let us examine the ideas 
which the Prophets had of God, and we will smile at 
their grossness and contradictions. To believe them, 
God is a purely corporeal being. Micah sees him 
seated. Daniel clothed in white and in the form of an 
old man, and Ezeliiel like a fire. So much for the 
Old Testament, now for the New. The disciples of 
J. C. imagined the Holy Spirit in the figure of a dove ; 
the apostles, in the form of tongues of fire, and St. 
Paul, as a light which dazzled the sight unto blindness. 

To show their contradictory opinions, Samuel, 
(I. ch. 15, V. 29), beHeved that God never repented of 
his own resolution. Again, yeremiah, (ch. 18, v. 10), 
says that God repented of a resolve he had taken. 
Joel, (ch. 2, V. 13), says that he only repents of the 
evil he has done to mankind. Genesis (ch. 4, v. 7), 
informs us that man is prone to evil, but that He has 
nothing for him but blessings. On the contrary, St. 
Paul, (Romans, ch. 9, v. 10), says that men have no 

bit is written in the First Book of Kings, ch. 32, v. 6, that Ahab, 
King of Israel, consulted 400 prophets, and found them entirely false in the 
success of their predictions. 


command of concupiscence except by the grace and 
particular calling of God. These are the noble senti- 
ments that these good people have of God, and what 
they would have us believe. Sentiments, however, 
entirely sensible, and quite material as we see, and yet 
they say that God has nothing in common with matter, 
is a sensible and material being, and that he is some- 
thing incomprehensible to our understanding. I should 
like to be informed how these contradictions may be 
harmonized, and how, under such visible and palpable 
conditions it is proper to believe them. Again, how 
can we accept the testimony of a people so clownish 
that they, notwithstanding all the artifices of Moses, 
should imagine a calf to be their God ! But not 
considering the dreams of a race raised in servitude, 
and among the superstitious, we can agree that ignor- 
ance has produced credulity, and credulity falsehood, 
from whence arises all the errors which exist today. 


Reasons which have caused mankind to Create 
FOR themselves an Invisible Being 




Those who ignore physical causes have a natural 
fear born of doubt. Where there exists a power 
which to them is dark or unseen, from thence comes a 
desire to pretend the existence of invisible Beings, that 
is to say their own phantoms which they invoke in 
adversity, whom they praise in prosperity, and of whom 
in the end they make Gods. And as the visions of 
men go to extremes, must we be astonished if there 
are created an innuinerable quantity of Divinities'? It 
is the same perceptible fear of invisible powers which 
has been the origin of Religions, that each forms to his 
fashion. Many individuals to whom it was important 
that mankind should possess such fancies, have not 
scrupled to encourage mankind in such beliefs, and 
they have made it their law until they have prevailed 
upon the people to blindly obey them by the fear of 
the future. 


The Gods having thus been invented, it is easy to 
imagine that they resembled man, and who, like them, 
created everything for some purpose, for they unani- 
mously agree that God has made nothing except for 


man, and reciprocally that man is made only for God.* 
This conclusion being general, we can see why man 
has so thoroughly accepted it, and know for that 
reason that they have taken occasion to create false 
ideas oi good and evil, merit and sin, praise and blame, 
order and confusion, beauty and deformity — and sim- 
ilar qualities. 


It should be agreed that all men are born in pro- 
found ignorance, and that the only thing natural to 
them is a desire to discover what may be useful and 
proper, and evade what may be inexpedient to them. 
Thence it folio wsyfr^/, that we beUeve that to be free 
it suffices to feel personally that one can wish and 
desire without being annoyed by the causes which dis- 
pose us to wish and desire, because we do not know 
them. Second, it consequently occurs that men are 
contented to do nothing but for one object, that is to 
say, for that object which is preferable above all, and 
that is why they have a desire only to know the final 
result of their action, imagining that after discovering 
this they have no reason to doubt anything. Now as 
they find in and about themselves many means of pro- 
curing what they desire : having, for example, ears to 
hear, eyes to see, animals to nourish, a sun to give 
light, they have formed this reasoning, that there is 
nothing in nature tvhich was not made for them, and 
of which they may dispose and enjoy. Then reflect- 
ing that the)' did not make this world, they believe it 
to be a well-founded proposition to imagine a Supreme 
Being who has made it for them such as it is, for after 

*Man is the noblest work of God — but nobody ever said so but man. 
— Fra Elbertus. 


satisfying themselves that they could not have made it, 
they conclude that it was the work of one or several 
Gods who intended it for the use and pleasure of man 
alone. On the other hand, the nature of the Gods 
whom man has admitted, being unknown, they have 
concluded in their own minds that these Gods suscep- 
tible of the same passions as men, have made the earth 
onl}/ for them, and that man to them was extremely 
precious. But as each one has different inclinations it 
became proper to adore God according to the humor 
of each, to attract his blessings and to cause Him to 
make all Nature subject to his desires. 


By this method this precedent becomes Superstition, 
and it is implanted so that the grossest natures are 
believed capable of penetrating the doctrine of final 
causes as if they had perfect knowledge. Thus in 
place of showing that nature has made nothing in 
vain, they show that God and Nature dream as well as 
men, and that they may not be accused of doubting 
things, let us see how they have put forth their false 
reasoning on this subject. 

Experience causing them to see a miyriad of incon- 
veniences marring the pleasure of life, such as storms, 
earthquakes, sickness, famine and thirst, they draw the 
conclusion that nature has not been made for them 
alone. They attribute all these evils to the wrath of 
the Gods, who are vexed by the offences of man, and 
they cannot be disabused of these ideas by the daily 
instances which should prove to them that blessings 
and evils have been always common to the wicked and 
the good, and they will not agree to a proposition so 
plain and perceptible. 


The reason for that is, it is more easy to remain in 
ignorance than to abolish a belief established for many 
centuries and introduce something more probable. 


This precedent has caused another, which is the 
belief that the judgments of God were incompre- 
hensible, and that for this reason, the knowledge of 
truth is beyond the human mind; and mankind would 
still dwell in error were it not that mathematics and 
several other sciences had destroyed these prejudices. 


By this it may be seen that Nature or God does 
not propose any end, and that all final causes are but 
human fictions. A long lecture is not necessary since 
this doctrine takes away from God the perfection 
ascribed to him, and this is how it may be proved. If 
God acted for a result, either for himself or another, he 
desires what he has not, and we must allow that there 
are times when God has not the wherewith to act; he 
has merely desired it and that only creates an impotent 
God. To omit nothing that may be apphed to this 
reasoning, let us oppose it with those of a contrary 
nature. If, for exam.ple, a stone falls on a person and 
kills him, it is well known they say, that the stone fell 
with the design of killing the man, and that could only 
happen by the will of God. If you reply that the wind 
caused the stone to drop at the moment the man passed, 
they will ask why the man should have passed precisely 
at the time when the wind moved the stone. If you 
say that the wind was so severe that the sea was also 
troubled since the day before while there appeared to 
be no agitation in the air, and the man having been 


invited to dine with a friend, went to keep his appoint- 
ment. As^ain they ask, for the man never got there, 
why he should be the guest of his friend at this time 
more than another, adding questions after questions, 
finally avowing that it was but the will of God, ( which 
is a true " asses bridge " ) and the cause of this misfor- 

Again when they note the symmetry of the human 
body, they stand in admiration and conclude how 
ignorant they are of the causes of a thing which to 
them appears so marvelous, that it is a supernatural 
work, in which the causes known to us could have no 

Thence it comes that those who desire to know 
the real cause of supposed miracles and penetrate like 
true scholars into their natural causes without amusing 
themselves with the prejudice of the ignorant, it hap- 
pens that the true scholar passes for impious and 
heretical by the malice of those whom the vulgar 
recognize as the expounders of Nature and of God. 
These mercenary individuals do not question the 
ignorance which holds the people in astonishment, upon 
whom they subsist and vdio preserve their credit. 


Mankind being thus of the ridiculous opinion that 
all they see is made for themselves, have made it a 
religious duty to apply it to their interest, and of judg- 
ing the price of things by the profit they gain. Thence 
proceed the ideas they have formed of good and evil, 
of order and confusion, of heat and cold, of beaiity 
and ugliness, which serve to explain to them the nature 
of things, which in the end are not what they imagine. 
Because they pride themselves in having free will they 



judge themselves capable of deciding between praise 
and blame, sin and merit, calling everything good 
which redounds to their profit and which concerns 
divine -worship, and to the contrary denominate as 
evil that which agrees with neither. Because the 
ignorant are not capable of judging what may be a little 
abstruse, and having no idea of things only by the aid 
of imagination which they consider understanding , 
these folk who know not what represents Order in the 
world beUeve all that they imagine. Man being 
inclined in such a manner that they think things well or 
ill ordered as they have the facility or trouble to con- 
clude when good sense would teach differently. Some 
are more pleased to be weary of the means of investi- 
gation, being satisfied to remain as they are, preferring 
order to confusion, as if order was another thing than 
a pure effect of the imagination of man, so that when 
it is said that God has made everything in order, it is 
recognizing that he has that faculty of imagination as 
well as man. If it was not so, perhaps to favor human 
imagination they pretend that God created this world 
in the easiest manner imaginable, although there are 
an hundred things far above the force of imagination, 
and an infinity which may be thrown into disorder by 
reason of weakness. 


For other ideas, they are purely the effect of the 
same imagination, which have nothing real, and which 
are but the different modes of which this power is 
capable. For example, if the movement which objects 
impress upon the nerves by the means of the eyes is 
agreeable to the senses, we say that these objects are 
beautiful, that odors are good or bad, that tastes are 


sweet or bitter, that which we touch hard or soft, 
sounds, harsh or agreeable. According as odors, tastes 
or sounds strike and penetrate the senses, just so we 
find a beUef that God is capable of taking pleasure in 
melody, that the celestial movements are a harmonious 
concert, proof evident that each one. believes that 
things are such as they are imagined, or that the world 
is purely imaginary. That is why we should not be 
surprised if we rarely found two men of the same 
opinion, and some who glorify themselves in doubting 
everything. For while men have bodies which resem- 
ble each other in many particulars, they differ in some 
others, and it should not astonish us that what seems 
good to one appears bad to another : what pleases this 
one displeases the other, from which we may infer that 
opinions only differ by fancy, that understanding passes 
for little, and to conclude, things which happen every 
day are purely the effects of imagination. If one 
should consult the lights of understanding of philos- 
ophers he would have faith that everybody would 
agree to the truth, and that judgments would be more 
uniform and reasonable than they are. 


It is then evident that all the reasons of which 
men are accustomed to avail themselves when they 
endeavor to explain Nature, are only methods of imag- 
ination which prove nothing less than they pretend, 
and because they have given to these reasons names so 
real that if they existed otherwise than in imagination 
I would not call them reasonable beings, but purely 
chimerical, seeing nothing more easy than to respond 
to arguments founded on these vulgar notions and 
which we oppose as follows. 


If it was true that the universe was a chance hap- 
pening, and a necessary sequel of divine nature, whence 
come the imperfections and faults which we remark? 
For example, corruption which fills the air with bad 
odor, many disagreeable objects, so many disorders, 
so much evil, so many crimes and other like occur- 
rences. Nothing is more easy than to refute these 
objections, for one cannot judge of the perfection of 
ancient existence only by knowing its essence and 
nature, and we deceive ourselves in thinking that a 
thing is more or less perfect, as it pleases or displeases, 
is useful or useless to human nature ; and to close the 
mouths of those who ask why God has not created all 
men without exception that they might be guided by 
the light of reason, it is enough to say that it was be- 
cause the material was not sufficient to give each being 
the degree of perfection that was most suitable for him, 
or to speak more proper, because the laws of nature 
were so ample and extensive that they could suffice for 
the production of all things of which an infinite under- 
standing is capable. 


What God Is. 


Until now we have fought the popular idea con- 
cerning the Divinity, but we have not yet said what 
God is, and if we were asked, we should say that the 
word represents to us an Infinite Being, of whom one 
of his attributes is to be a substance of extent and con- 
sequently eternal and infinite. The extent or the 
quantity not being finite or divisible, it may be imagined 
that the matter was everywhere the same, our under- 
standing not distinguishing parts. For example, 
water, as much as water is imagined, is divisible, and 
its parts separable from one another, though as much 
as a corporeal substance it is neither separable nor 
divisible.* Thus neither matter or quantity have any- 
thing unworthy of God, for if all is God, and all comes 
surely from his essence, it follows quite absolutely that 
He is all that he contains, since it is incomprehensible 
that Beings quite material should be contained in a 
Being who is not. That we may not think that this is 
a new opinion, Teriullian, one of the foremost men 
among the Christians, has pronounced against Apelles, 
that, "that which is not matter is nothing," and 
against Praxias, that "all substance is matter," 

*So of water, however, it may be subject to generation and corrup- 
tion, as long as it is substance it is not subject to separation and division. 


without having this doctrine condemned in the four 
first Councils of the Christian Church, gecumenical and 
general. ** 


These sentiments are plain and the only ones that 
good and sound judgment can form of God. How- 
ever, there are but few who are satisfied with such 
simpHcity. Boorish people, who are accustomed to 
adulation of opinion, demand a God who resembles 
earthly kings. The pomp and circumstance surround- 
ing them so fascinates, that to take away all hope of 
going after death to increase the number of heavenly 
courtiers enjoying the same pleasure which attaches to 
the Court of Kings, is to take away the consolation and 
the only things which prevent them from going to 
despair over the miseries of life. They want a just 
and avenging God, who rewards and punishes after 
the manner of kings, a God susceptible of all human 
passions and weaknesses. They give him feet, hands, 
and ears, and yet they do not regard a God so consti- 
tuted as material. They say that man is his master- 
piece, and even his own image, but do not allow that 
the copy is like the original. In a word, the God of 
the people of today is subject to as many forms as 
Jupiter of the Pagans, and what is still more strange, 
these follies contradict each other and shock good 
sense. The vulgar reverence them because they firmly 
believe what the Prophets have said, although these 

aThe four first Councils were i. That of Nice in the year 345, under 
the Emperor Constantine the Great, and under Pope Sylvester I. ; 2. That 
of Constantinople in the year 381, under the Emperors Gratian,VaIentinian 
and Theodore and the Pope Damase I. ; 3. That of Ephesus in the year 431, 
under the Emperor Theodore, the younger, and Valentinian and under the 
Pope Celestin; 4. That of Chalcedon in the year 451, under Valentinian 
and Martian, and under Pope Leo I. 


visionaries among the Hebrews, were the same as the 
augurs and the diviners among the pagans.* They 
consult the Bible as if God or nature was therein 
expounded to them in a special manner, however this 
book is only a rhapsody of fragments, gathered at 
various times, selected by several persons, and given to 
the people according to the fancy of the Rabbins, who 
did not publish them until after approving some, and 
rejecting others, and seeing if they were conformable 
or opposed to the Law of Moses. '^ Yes, such is the 
malice and stupidity of men that they prefer to pass 
their lives disputing with one another, and worshipping 
a book received from ignorant people ; a book with 
little order or method, which everyone admits as con- 
fused and badly conceived, only serving to foment 

Christians would rather adore this phantom than 
listen to the law of Nature which God — that is to say, 
Nature, which is the active principle — has written in the 
heart of man. All other laws are but human fictions, 
and pure illusions forged, not by Demons or evil spirits, 
which are fanciful ideas, but by the skill of Princes and 
Ecclesiastics to give the former more warrant for their 
authority, and to enrich the latter by the traffic in an 
infinity of chimeras which sell to the ignorant at a good 

All other laws are not supported save on the 
authority of the Bible, in the original of which appear 

*These. among us, are the Astrologers and Fanatics. 

aThe Talmud remarks that the Rabbins deliberated whether thej 
should omit the Book of Proverbs and that of Ecclesiastes from the number 
of canonicals, and would have done so had they not found in several plaees 
that thej eulogized the Mosaic law. They would have done the same with 
the prophecies of Ezekiel had not a certain Chananias undertook to har- 
monize them with the same law. 


a thousand instances of extraordinary and impossible 
things,* and which speaks only of recompenses or 
punishments for good or bad actions, but which are 
wisely deferred for a future life, relying that the trick 
will not be discovered in this, no one having returned 
from the other to tell the news. Thus, men kept ever 
wavering between hope and fear, are held to their duty 
by the belief they aver that God has created man only 
to render him eternally happy or unhappy, and which 
has given rise to the infinity of religions which we are 
about to discuss. 

SThe versions that we have differ greatly in a thousand places, one 
with another, until the end of the book. 


What the word Religion signifies, and how and 

WHY such a great NUMBER HAVE BEEN 


Before the word Religion was introduced in the 
world mankind was only obliged to follow natural laws 
and to conform to common sense. This instinct alone 
was the tie by which men were united, and so very 
simple was this bond of unity, that nothing among 
them was more rare than dissensions. But when fear 
created a suspicion that there were Gods, and invisible 
powers, they raised altars to these imaginary beings, 
so that in putting off the yoke of Nature and Reason, 
which are the sources of true life, they subjected them- 
selves by vain ceremonies and superstitious worship to 
frivolous phantoms of the imagination, and that is 
whence arose this word Religion which makes so much 
noise in the world. 

Men having admitted invisible forces which were 
all-powerful over them, they worshipped them to 
appease them, and further imagined that Nature was a 
being subordinate to this power, thence they had the 
idea that it was a great mace that threatened, or a slave 
that acted only by the order that such power gave him. 
Since this false idea had broken their will they had 
only scorn for Nature, and respect only for those pre- 
tended beings that they called their Gods. Thence 
came the ignorance in which mankind was plunged, 



and from which the well-informed, however deep the 
abyss, could have rescued them, if their zeal had not 
been extinguished by those who led them bHndly, and 
who lived by imposture. But though there was but 
little appearance of success in the enterprise, it was 
not necessary to abandon the party of truth, and only 
in consideration of those who were afflicted with the 
symptoms of so great an evil, were generous souls 
available to represent matters as they were. 


Fear which created Gods, made also ReHgion, and 
when men imbibed the notion that there were invisible 
agencies which were the cause of their good and bad 
fortune, they lost their good sense and reason substi- 
tuting for their chimeras so many Divinities who had 
care of their conduct. 

After having forged these Gods they were curious 
to know of what matter they consisted, and finally 
imagined that they should be of the same substance as 
the soul. Then being persuaded that the latter resem- 
bled the shadows which appear in a mirror, or during 
sleep, they believed that some Gods were real sub- 
stances but so thin and subtile that to distinguish them 
from bodies they called them Spirits. So that bodies 
and spirits were in effect the same thing, and differed 
neither more nor less, and to be both corporeal and 
incorporeal is a most incomprehensible thing. The 
reason given is that each spirit has a proper form, and 
is included within some limit, that is to say that it has 
some boundaries, and consequently must be a body 
however thin and subtile it might be.* 

*See Tertullian ante, also Hobbes' Leviathan, C. 12, p. 56. 



The ignorant, that is, the greater part of mankind 
having settled in this manner the substance of their 
Gods, tried also to determine by what methods these 
invisible powers produced their effects. Not being 
able to do this definitely by reason of their ignorance, 
they put faith in their conjectures, blindly judging the 
future by the past, while seeing neither cohesion nor 

In all that they undertook they saw but the past, 
and foretold good or evil for the future according as 
the same enterprise had at another time turned out 
either good or bad. Phormion having defeated the 
Lacedemonians at the battle of Naupacte, the Athe- 
nians, after his death, chose another general of the 
same name : Hannibal having succumbed to the arms 
of Scipio Africanus, the Romans, remembering this 
great success, sent another Scipio to the same country 
against Cesar, which acts gained nothing for either the 
Athenians or the Romans. So after two or three 
experiences, good or bad fortune is made synonomous 
with certain names or places; others make use of 
certain words called enchantments, which they believe 
to be efficacious ; some cause trees to speak, create 
man from a morsel of bread, and transform anything 
that may appear before them. (Hobbes' Leviathan 
de homine. Cap. 12, p. 56-57.) 


Invisible powers being estabHshed in this way, 
straightway men revere them only as they do their 
rulers, that is to say, by tokens of submission and 
respect, as witness offerings, prayers, and similar 
things, I say at first, for nature has not yet learned to 


use on such occasions sacrifices of blood, which have 
only been instituted for the benefit of the sacrificers 
and the ministers called to the service of these beautiful 


These causes of Religion, that is, Hope and 
Fear, leaving out the passions, judgments and various 
resolutions of mankind, have produced the great 
number of extravagant beliefs which have caused so 
much evil, and the many revolutions which have con- 
vulsed the nations. 

The honor and revenue which attaches to the 
priesthood, and which has since been accorded to the 
ministry of the Gods, and those having ecclesiastical 
charges, inflame the ambition and the avarice of cun- 
ning individuals who profit by the stupidity of the 
people, who readily submit in their weakness, and we 
know how insensibly is caused the easy habit of 
encouraging falsehood and hating truth. 


The empire of falsehood being established, and the 
ambitious ones encouraged by the advantage of being 
above their fellows, the latter endeavor to gain repute 
by a pretense of being friendly with the invisible Gods 
whom the vulgar fear. For better success, each 
schemes in his own way, and multiplies deities so that 
they are met at every turn. 


The formless matter of the world they terra the 
god Chaos, and the same honor is accorded to heaven, 
earth, the sea, the wind, and the planets, and they are 
made both male and female. Further on we find birds, 


reptiles, the crocodile, the calf, the dog, the lamb, the 
serpent, the /^o^, and in fact all kinds of animals and 
plants constitute the better part. Each river and foun- 
tain bears the name of a God, each house had its own, 
each man his genius ; in fact all space above and 
beneath the earth was occupied by spirits, shades and 
demons. It was not sufficient to maintain a Divinity in 
all imaginable places, but they feared to offend time, 
day, night, concord, love, peace, victory, contention, 
mildeTv, honor, virtue, fever, and health, or to insult 
these charming divinities whom they always imagined 
ready to discharge lightning on the heads of men, pro- 
vided temples and altars were not erected to them. 

As a sequel, man commenced to fear his own 
special genius, whom some invoked under the name of 
Muses, and others under the name of Fortune adored 
their own ignorance. The latter sanctified their 
debauches in the name of Cupid, their rage in the 
name of Furies, and their natural parts under the name 
of Priapus, in a word, there was nothing which did not 
bear the name of a God or a Denioji. (Hobbes' de 
homine. Chap. 12, p. 58.) 


The founders of Religion having based their 
impostures on the ignorance of the people, took great 
care to maintain them by the adoration of images 
which they pretended were inhabited by the Gods, and 
this caused a flood of gold and benefactions called holy 
things, to pour into the coffers of the priests. These 
gifts were regarded as sacred, and designed for the use 
of these holy ministers, and none were so audacious as 
to pretend to their office, or even to touch them. To 
allure the people more successfully, these priests made 


prophecies and pretended to penetrate the future by the 
commerce which they boasted of having with the Gods. 
There is nothing so natural as to know destiny. These 
impostors were too well informed to omit any circum- 
stance so advantageous for their designs. Some were 
established at Delos, others at Delphos and elsewhere, 
where by ambiguous oracles they replied to the 
demands made of them. Women even were engaged 
in these impostures, and the Romans in their great 
Calamities had recourse to the Sybilline boohs; fools 
and lunatics passed for enthusiasts, and those who pre- 
tended to converse with the dead were called necrotn- 

Others read the future by the flight of birds, or by 
the entrails of beasts. Indeed the eyes, the hands, the 
face, or an extraordinary object, all seemed to them to 
possess a good or bad omen, so it is true that the 
ignorant will receive any desired impression when the 
secret of their wish is found. (Hobbes' de homine, 
Chap. 12, pp. 58-59.) 


Of Moses. 

The ambitious, who have always been grand 
masters of the art of trickery, have always followed 
this method in expounding their laws, and to oblige 
the people to submit to them they have persuaded them 
that they had received them either from a God or a 

Although there was a multitude of Divinities, those 
who worshipped them called Pagans had no general 
system of Religion. Each republic, each state and 
city, each particular place had its own rites and thought 
of the Divinity as fancy dictated. Following this came 
legislators more cunning than these first tricksters, and 
who employed methods more studied and more certain 
for the propagation and perpetuity of their laws, as 
well as the culture of such ceremonies and fanaticism 
as they deemed proper to establish. 

Among the great number Arabia and its frontiers 
has given birth to three who have been distinguished 
as much by the kind of laws and worship which they 
established, as by the idea they have given of a Divinity 
to their followers, and the means they have taken to 
cause this idea to be received and their laws to be 

Moses is the most ancient ; Jesus coming after 
labored after his manner in preserving the foundation 
of his laws while abolishing the remainder ; and Ma- 


hornet appearing later on the scene has taken from one 
and the other religion to compose his own, and there- 
fore he is declared the enemy of all the Gods. 

Let us see the character of these three Legislators, 
examine their conduct, and then judge afterwards who 
are the best founded : those who revered them as Holy 
men and Gods, or those who treated them as schemers 
and impostors. 


The celebrated Moses, grandson of a great magi- 
cian,* by the account of Justin Martyr, had all the 
advantages proper for what he afterwards became. It 
is well known that the Hebrews, of whom he became 
the Chief, were a nation of shepherds whom King 
Pharaoh Orus L received in his country in considera- 
tion of services that he had received from one of them 
in the time of a great famine. He gave them some 
lands in the east of Egypt in a country fertile in pas- 
turage, and consequently adapted for their flocks. 

During 200 years they rapidly increased, because, 
being considered foreigners they were not required to 
serve in the armies of Pharaoh, and because of the 
natural advantages of the lands which Orus had granted 
them. Some bands of Arabs came to join them as 
brothers, for they were of a similar race, and they in- 
creased so astonishingly that the land of Goshen not 
being able to contain them they spread all over Egypt, 
giving Pharaoh Memnon IL good reason to fear that 
they might be capable of some dangerous attempt in 
case Egj'pt was attacked (as happened soon after) by 
their active enemies, the Ethiopians. 

*This word must not be taken in the ordinary sense, for what is 
called a magician among learned people means an adroit man, a skillful 
charlatan, and a subtle juggler whose entire art consists in dexterity and 
skill, and not in any compact with the devil as the common people believe. 


Thus a policy of state compelled this Prince to 
curtail their privileges, and to seek means to weaken 
and enslave them. Pharaoh Orus II. surnamed Biisiris 
because of his cruelty, and who succeeded Memnon, 
followed his plan regarding the Jews. Wishing to 
perpetuate his memory by the erection of the Pyramids 
and building the city of Thebes, he condemned the 
Hebrews to labor at making bricks, the material in the 
earth of their country being adapted for this purpose. 
During this servitude the celebrated Moses was born, 
in the same year that the King issued an edict to cast 
all the male Hebrew children into the Nile, seeing that 
he had no surer means of exterminating this rabble of 

Moses was exposed to perish in the waters in a 
basket covered with pitch, which his mother placed in 
the rushes on the banks of the river. It chanced that 
Thennitis, daughter of Orus, was walking near the 
shore and hearing the cries of the child, the natural 
compassion of her sex inspired her to save it. 

Orus having died, Thermitis succeeded him, and 
Moses having been presented to her, she caused him 
to be educated in a manner befitting the son of a Queen 
of the wisest and most polished nation of the universe. 
In a word he was tutored in all the science of the 
Egyptians, and it is admitted, and they have repre- 
sented Moses to us as the greatest politician, the wisest 
philosopher and the most famous magician of his time. 
It followed that he was admitted to the order of Priest- 
hood, which was in Egypt what the Druids were in 
Gaul, that is to say — everything. 

Those who are not familiar with what the govern- 
ment of Egypt was, will be pleased to know that the 
famous dynasties having come to an end, the entire 


country was dependent upon one Sovereign who divided 
it into several provinces of no great extent. The gov- 
ernors of these countries were called monarchs, and 
they were ordinarily of the powerful order of Priests, 
who possessed nearly one-third of Egypt. The king 
named these monarchs, and if we can believe the 
authors who have written of Moses and compare what 
they have said with what Moses himself has written, 
we may conclude that he was monarch of the land of 
Goshen^ and that he owed his elevation to Thermitis, 
who had also saved his life. 

We see what Moses was in Egypt, where he had 
both time and means to study the manners of the 
Egyptians, and those of his nation : their governing 
passions, their incUnations, and all that would be of 
service to him in his effort to excite the revolution of 
which he was the promoter. 

Thermitis having died, her successor renewed the 
persecution against the Hebrews, and Moses having 
lost his previous favor, and fearing that he could not 
justify several homicides that he had committed, took 
the precaution to flee. 

He retired to Arabia Petrea, on the confines of 
Egypt, and chance brought him to the home of a tribal 
chief of the country. His services, and the talents 
that his master remarked in him, merited his good 
graces and one of his daughters in marriage. It is here 
to be noted that Moses was such a bad Jew, and knew 
so little of the redoubtable God whom he invented 
later, that he wedded an idolatress, and did not even 
think of having his children circumcised. 

It was in the Arabian deserts, while guarding the 
flocks of his father-in-law and brother-in-law, he con- 
ceived the design of avenging the injustice which had 


been done him by the King of Egypt, by bringing 
trouble and sedition in the court of his states; and he 
flattered himself that he could easily succeed in this by 
reason of his talents, as by the disposition which he 
knew he would find in his nation already incensed 
against the government by reason of the bad treatment 
that they had been caused to suffer. 

It appears by the history which he has told of this 
revolution, or at least by the author of the books 
attributed to Moses, that yeihro, his brother-in-law, 
was in the conspiracy, as well as his brother Aaron 
and his sister Maij, who had remained in Egypt, and 
with whom he could arrange to hold correspondence. 
As may be seen by the sequel he had formed a vast 
plan in good politics, and he could put in service 
against Egypt all the science he had learned there, 
and the pretended Magic in which he was more subtle 
and skillful than all those at the Court of Pharaoh who 
possessed the same accomplishments. It was by these 
pretended miracles that he gained the confidence of 
those of his nation that he caused to rebel. He joined 
to them thousands of mutinous Egyptians, Ethiopians 
and Arabs. Boasting the power of his Divinity and 
the frequent interviews he held with Him, and causing 
Him to intervene in all the measures he took with the 
chiefs of the revolt, he persuaded them so well that 
they followed him to the number of 600,000 combatants 
— besides the women and children — across the deserts 
of Arabia, of which he knew all the windings. 

After a six days march on a laborious retreat, he 
commanded his followers to consecrate the seventh to 
his God by a public rest, to make them believe that 
this God favored him, that he approved his sway, and 
that no one could have the audacity to contradict him. 


There were never any people more ignorant than 
the Hebrews, and consequently none more credulous. 
To be convinced of this profound ignorance, it is only 
necessary to recall the condition of these people in 
Egypt when Moses made them revolt. They were 
hated by the Egyptians because of their pastoral life, 
persecuted by the Sovereign and employed in the vilest 
labor . 

Among such a populace it was not very difficult for 
Moses to avail himself of his talents. He made them 
believe that his God (whom he sometimes simply 
called an ang-el) — the God oy their Fathers — appeared 
to him, that it was by his order that he took care to 
lead them, that he had chosen him for Governor, and 
that they would be the favored people of this God, 
provided they believed what he said on his part. 

He added to his exhortations on the part of his 
God, the adroit use of his prestige, and the knowledge 
that he had of nature. He confirmed what he said to 
them by what might be called miracles, always easy 
to perform, and which made a great impression on an 
imbecile populace. 

It may be remarked above all, that he believed he 
had found a sure method for holding this people sub- 
missive to his orders, in making accessory of the state- 
ment that God himself was their leader : by night a 
column of fire and a cloud by day. But it can be 
proved that this was the grossest trick of this impostor, 
and that it might serve him for a long time. He had 
learned during his travels that he had made in Arabia, 
a country vast and uninhabited, that it was the custom 
of those who traveled in companies to take guides who 
conducted them in the night by means of a brazier, the 
flame of which they followed, and in the day time by 


the smoke of the same brazier which all the members 
of the caravan could see, and consequently not go 
astray. This custom prevailed among the Medes and 
Assyrians, and it is quite natural that Moses used it, 
and made it pass for a miracle, and a mark of the 
protection of his God. If I may not be beHeved when 
I say that this was a trick, let Moses himself be 
beHeved, who in Numbers, Chap. x. v. 29-33, asks his 
brother-in-law, Hobab, to come with the Israelites, 
that he inay skoiv them the roads, because he knew the 
coutitry. This is demonstrative, for if it was God who 
marched before Israel night and day in the cloud and 
the column oj fire could they have a better guide.? 
Meanwhile here is Moses exhorting his brother-in-law 
by the most pressing motives of interest to serve him 
as Guide. Then the cloud and the column of fire was 
God only for the people, and not for Moses, who 
knew what it was. 

These poor unfortunates thus seduced, charmed at 
being adopted by the Master of God, as they were 
told, emerging from a hard and cruel bondage, 
applauded Moses and swore to obey him. His authority 
was thus confirmed. He sought to perpetuate it, and 
under pretext of establishing divine worship, or of a 
supreme God of whom he said he was the lieutenant, 
he made his brother and his children chiefs of the 
Roj^al Palace, that is to say, of the place where miracles 
were performed out of the sight and presence of the 

So he continued these pretended miracles, at which 
the simple were amazed and others stupefied, but which 
caused those who were wise and who saw through 
these impostures to pity them. However skillful Moses 
was, and how many clever tricks he knew how to do, 


he would have had much trouble to secure obedience 
if he had not a strong army.* Deceit without force has 
rarely succeeded. 

It was in order to have assured means to maintain 
obedience against the discerning that he continued to 
place in his own faction those of his tribe, giving them 
all the important charges and exempting them from 
the greater part of the labors. He knew how to create 
jealousies among the other tribes, some of whom took 
his part against the others. Finally assuring adroitly 
to his interest those who appeared the most enlightened, 
by placing them in his confidence, he secured them 
by giving them employment of distinction. 

After that he found some of these idiots had the 
courage to reproach his bad faith ; that under his false 
pretense of justice and equity he was seizing everything. 
As the sovereign authority was vested in his blood in 
such manner that no one had a right to aspire to it, 
they considered finally that he was less their father 
than their tyrant. 

On such occasions Moses by cunning policy con- 
founded th.e.?,& /ree-t /linkers and spared none who cen- 
sured his government. 

With such precautions, and cloaking his punish- 
ments under the name of Divine vengeance, he con- 
tinued absolute, and to finish in the same way he began, 
that is to say by deceit and imposture, he chose an 
extraordinary death. He cast himself in an abyss in a 
lonely place where he retired from time to time under 
pretext of conferring with God, and which he had long 

* He remained from time to time in a solitary place under pretext of 
privately conferring with God, and by this pretended intercourse with the 
Divinity he taught them a respect and obedience which was, in the mean- 
while, unlimited. 


designed for his tomb. His body never having been 
found, it was believed that his God had taken him, and 
that he had become Uke Him. 

He knew that the memories of the patriarchs who 
preceded him were held in great veneration when their 
sepulchres were found, but that was not sufficient for 
an ambition like his. He must be revered as a God for 
whom death had no terrors, and to this end all his 
efforts were directed since the beginning of his reign 
when he said that he was established of God — to be 
the God of Pharaoh. Elijah'^ gave his example, also 
Romulus* , Empedocles'^ and all those who from a 
desire to immortalize their names, have concealed the 
time and place of their death so that they would be 
deemed immortal. 

a See Book of Kings, Chapter II. 

J Romulus drowned himself in the morass of Cherres, and his body- 
not being found, it was believed that he was raised to heaven and deified. 

When Romulus was reviewing his forces in the plain of Caprae there 
suddenly arose a thunderstorm during which he was enveloped in so thick 
a cloud that he was lost to the view of his army: nor thereafter on this 
earth was Romulus seen. Livy 1. i, c. i6. 

cEmpedocles, a celebrated philosopher, threw himself into the crater 
of Mount Etna, to cause the belief that, like Romulus, he was raised to 


Of Numa Pompilius. 

To return to the law-givers, there were none who, 
having attributed their laws to Divinity, did not 
endeavor to encourage the beHef that they themselves 
were more than human. 

Nmna, having tasted the delights of solitude, did 
not wish to leave it for the throne of Rome, but being 
forced by pubHc acclamation, he profited by the devo- 
tion of the Romans. He informed them that he had 
talked with God, and if they desired him for King they 
must observe the Divine laws and institutions which 
had been dictated to him by the nymph Egeria.^ 

Alexander wished to be considered a son of 
yupiter. Perseus pretended to be a son of the same 
God and the virgin Danae; Plato, of Apollo, and a 
virgin, which, perhaps, is the cause of the belief among 
the Egyptians that the Spirit of God AvSpa Vtay* 
could get a woman with child as the wind did the 
Iberian mares. J 

tit is recorded by Livy (liber II.,c. 21,) that there is a grove through 
which flowed a perennial stream, taking its origin in a dark cave, in which 
Numa was accustomed to meet the goddess, and to receive instructions as 
to his political and religious institutions. 

*Breath or inspiration of the Gods. 

{The Tartars assert that Genghis Khan was born of a virgin, and that 
Foh, according to the Chinese belief, derived his origin from a virgin 
rendered pregnant by the rays of the sun. 

Since the introduction of the umbrella or sun-shade into the Central 
Flowery Kingdom occurrences like the latter have been infrequent. 


Of Jesus Christ. 

y'esus Christ, who was not unacquainted with the 
maxims and science of the Egyptians, among whom he 
dwelt several years, availed himself of this knowledge, 
deeming it proper for the design which he meditated. 
Considering that Moses was renowned because he 
commanded an ignorant people, he undertook to build 
on a similar foundation, and his followers were only 
some idiots whom he persuaded that the Holy Spirit 
was his Father, and his Mother a Virgin.^ These 
good people being accustomed to be satisfied with 
dreams and fancies, adopted this fable, believed all 
that he wished, and even more willingly that a birth 
out of the natural order was not so marvelous a 
circumstance for them to believe. To be born of a 

^Celsus says, in Origen, that Jesus Christ was a native of a little 
hamlet in Judea, and that his mother was a poor villager who only existed 
by her labor. Having been convicted of adultery with a soldier named 
Pandira, she was induced to flee by her betrothed, who was a carpenter by 
trade, who condoned their offence, and they wandered miserably from 
place to place. She was secretly delivered of Jesus, and finding themselves 
in want, they were constrained to flee to Egypt. After several years, his 
services being of no value to the Egyptians, he returned to his own country, 
where, quite proud of the miracles he knew how to perform, he proclaimed 
himself God. 

Human nature was at those times not fundamentally different from 
what it is now, and we need, therefore, not be surprised to hear that one of 
the stalwart Roman warriors, whose name was Pandira, fell in love with 
one of the dark-eyed daughters of Nazareth, and that the fruit of their 
"illegitimate" union was a son whom they called Jehoshua, and who inherited 


Virgin by the operation of the Holy Spirit ** was, in 
their estimation, as wonderful as what the Romans 
said of their founder, Romulus., who owed his birth to 
a Vestal and a God. 

This happened at a time when the Jews were tired 
of their God, as they had been of their Judges,^ and 
wished to have a visible God like other nations. As 
the number of fools is infinite, he found followers 
everywhere, but his extreme poverty was an invincible 
obstacle to his elevation. The Pharisees., delighted 
with the boldness of a man of their sect,^ while startled 
at his audacity, elevated or depressed him according to 
the fickle humor of the populace, so that when it 
became noised about concerning his Divinity, it was 
impossible — he being possessed of no power — that his 
design could succeed. No matter how many sick he 

from his father the manly pride of the Roman, and from his Jewish mother 
his almost feminine beauty and modesty. 

Of Jehoshua's mother, little is to be said. ***** 
Ignorant, innocent, and of modest manners, uneducated but kind, sympa- 
thetic and beautiful, Stada, like many others of her sex, was guided more 
by the decision of her heart than by the calculations of her intellect. Her 
heart yearned for love and she hoped to find in Pandira the realization of 
her ideal. — Life of Jehoshna, The Prophet of Nazareth, an Occult Study 
and a Key to the Bible. Franz Hartniann, M. D., Boston, 1SS9. 

**A beautiful dove overshadowed a virgin; there is nothing surpris- 
ing in that. It happened frequently in Lydia, and the swan of Leda is the 
counterpart of the dove of Mary. 

Qu'un beau Pigeon a tire d'aile When a pretty dove under her wing 

Vienne abombrer une Pucelle, Happens to conceal a Virgin, 

Rien n'est suprenant en cela; There is nothing surprising in that. 

L'on en vit autant en Lydie. The same thing is known in Lydia, 

Et le beau Cygne de Leda For the beautiful swan of Leda 

Vaut bien le Pigeon de Marie. Is just as good as Mary's pigeon. 

Bin the book of 5a«;<«/, chap, vii, it is related that the Israelites 
being discontented with the sons of Samuel who judged them, demanded a 
King, the same as other nations, with whom they wished to conform. 

AJesus Christ was of the sect of the Pharisees, or the poor, who were 
opposed to the Sadducees, who formed the sect of the rich. 


cured, nor how many dead he raised, having no money 
and no army, he could not fail to perish, and with that 
outlook it appears that he had less chance of success 
than Afoses, Mahomet, and all those who were ambi- 
tious to elevate themselves above others. If he was 
more unfortunate, he was no less adroit, and several 
places in his history give evidence that the greatest 
fault in his policy was not to have sufficiently provided 
for his own safety. So it may be seen that he did not 
manage his affairs any better than those two other 
legislators, of whose memory exists but the remains of 
the belief that they established among the different 


Of the Policy of Jesus Christ. 


Is there anything, for example, more dextrous 
than the manner in which he treated the subject of the 
woman taken in adultery? (St. John, c. viii.) The 
Jews having asked if they should stone this unfortunate, 
instead of replying definitely, yes or no, by which he 
would fall in the trap set by his enemies : the negative 
being directly against the law, and the affirmative 
proving him severe and cruel, which would have 
alienated the saints. Instead of replying as any ordi- 
nary person but him would have done, he said, '■'■-who- 
ever is without sin, let him cast the first stone,'''' a 
skillful response, which shows us his presence of mind. 


Another time being asked if it was lawful to"^ pay 
tribute to Cesar, and seeing the image of the Prince on 
the coin that they showed him, he evades the difficulty 
by replying that they should " render unto Cesar -what 
belongs to Cesar, and unto God what belongs to GodP 
The difficulty consisted in that he would be guilty of 
lese majestk if he had said it was not permitted, and by 
saying that it was, he would reverse the law of Moses 
which he always protested he would not do, because 
he felt that he was either too weak, or that he would 

CBy this Norman reply he eluded the question. A Norman never 
sajs yes, or no. Blason populaire de la Normandie. 


be worsted in the endeavor. So he made himself more 
popular, by acting with impunity after the manner of 
Princes, who allowed the privileges of their subjects to 
be confirmed while their power was not well estab- 
lished, but who scorned their promises when they were 
well enthroned. 


He again skillfully avoided a trap that the Pharisees 
had set for him. They asked him — having in their 
minds thoughts which would only tend to convict him 
of lying — by what authority he pretefided to instruct 
and catechise the people. Whether he replied that it was 
by human authority because he was not of the sacred 
body of Levites, or whether he boasted of preaching 
by the express command of God, his doctrine was con- 
trary to the Mosaic law. To relieve this embarrass- 
ment, he availed himself of the questioners themselves 
by asking them in the name of whoin they thought 
yohn baptized? The Pharisees, who for policy 
opposed the baptism by John, would be condemned 
themselves in avowing that it -was of God. If they 
had not admitted it they would have been exposed to 
the rage of the populace, who believed the contrary. 
To get out of this dilemma, they replied that they knew 
nothing of it, to which Jesus answered that he was 
neither obliged to tell them why, nor in the name of 
whom he preached. 


Such were the skillful and witty evasions of the 
destroyer of the ancient law and the founder of the 
new. Such were the origins of the new religion which 
was built on the ruins of the old, or to speak disinter- 
estedly, there was nothing more divine in this than in 
the other sects which preceded it. Its founder, who 


was not quite ignorant, seeing the extreme corruption 
of the Jewish republic, judged it as nearing its end, and 
believed that another should be revived from its ashes. 
The fear of being prevented by one more ambitious 
than himself, made him haste to establish it by methods 
quite opposed to those of Moses. The latter com- 
menced by making himself formidable to other nations. 
Jesus, on the contrary, attracted them to him by the 
hope of the advantages of another life, which he said 
could be obtained by believing in him, while Moses 
only promised temporal benefits as a recompense for 
the observation of his law. Jesus Christ held out a 
hope which never was realized. The laws of one only 
regarded the exterior, while those of the other aimed 
at the inner man, influencing even the thoughts, and 
entirely the reverse of the law of Moses. Whence it 
follows that Jesus believed with Aristotle that it is 
with Religion and States, as with individuals who are 
begotten and die, and as nothing is made except subject 
to dissolution, there is no law which can follow which 
is entirely opposed to it. Now as it is difficult to 
decide to change from one law to another, and as the 
great majority is difficult to move in matters of Religion, 
Jesus, in imitation of the other innovators had recourse 
to miracles, which have always been the peril of the 
ignorant, and the sanctuary of the ambitious. 


Christianity was founded by this method, and Jesus 
profiting by the faults of the Mosaic policy, never suc- 
ceeded so happily anywhere, as in the measures which 
he took to render his law eternal. The Hebrew prophets 
thought to do honor to Moses by predicting a successor 
who resembled him. That is to say, a Messiah, grand 


in virtue, powerful in wealth, and terrible to his enemies ; 
and while their prophecies have produced the contrary 
effect, many ambitious ones have taken occasion to 
proclaim themselves the promised Messiah, which has 
caused revolts that have endured until the entire de- 
struction of their republic. 

Jesus Christ, more adroit than the Mosaic prophets, 
to defeat the purpose of those who rose up against him 
predicted (Matthew xxiv. 4-5-24-25-26. II. Thessa- 
lonians ii. 3-10. John ii. 11- 18) that such a man would 
be a great enemy of God, the delight of the Devil, the 
sink of all iniquity and the desolation of the world. 
After these fine declarations there was, to my mind, 
no person who would dare to call himself Anti-Christ, 
and I do not think he could have found a better way to 
perpetuate his law. There was nothing more fabulous 
than the rumors that were spread concerning this pre- 
tended Anti-Christ. St. Paul said (II. Thessalonians 
xi. 7) of his existence, that "he was already born," 
consequently was present on the eve of the coming of 
Jesus Christ while more than twelve hundred years 
have expired since the prediction of this prophet was 
uttered, and he has not yet appeared. 

I admit that these words have been credited to 
Cherintus and Ebion, two great enemies of Jesus 
Christ, because they denied his pretended divinity, but 
it also may be said that if this interpretation conforms 
to the view of the apostle, which is not credible ; these 
words for all time designate an infinity of Anti-Christ, 
there being no reputable scholar who would offend 
by saying that the ^history of Jesus Christ is a fable, 

A Vide Boniface VIII. (1294) and Leo X. (1513) Boniface said that 
men had the same souls as beasts, and that these human and bestial souls 
lived no longer than each other. The Gospel also says that all other laws 



and that his law is but a tissue of idle fancies that 
ignorance has -piit in vogue and that interest preserves. 


Nevertheless it is pretended that a Religion which 
rests on such frail foundations is quite divine and super- 
natural, as if we did not know that there were never 
persons more convenient to give currency to the most 
absurd opinions than women and idiots. 

It is not strange, then, that Jesus did not choose 
Philosophers and Scholars for his Apostles. He knew 
that his law and good sense were diametrically 
opposed.^ That is the reason why he declaims in so 
many places against the wise, and excludes them from 
his kingdom, where were to be admitted the poor in 
spirit., the silly and the crazy. Again, rational indi- 
viduals did not think it unfortunate to have nothing in 
common with visionaries. 

teach several virtues and several lies; for example, a Trinity which is 
false, the child-birth of a Virgin vphich is impossible, and the incarnation 
and transubstantiation which are ridiculous. I do not believe, continued 
he, other than that the Virgin was a ske-ass, and her son the issue of a 

Leo X. went one day to a room where his treasures were kept, and 
exclaimed "we must admit that this fable of Jesus Christ has been quite 
profitable to us. 

•A-The belief in the Christian doctrine is strange and wild to reason 
and human judgment. It is coptrary to all Philosophy and discourse of 
Truth, as may be seen in all the articles of faith which can neither be com- 
prehended nor understood by human intellect, for they appear impossible 
and quite strange. Mankind, in order to believe and receive them, must 
control and subject his reason, submitting his understanding to the obedi- 
ence of the faith. St. Paul says that if man considers and hears philosophy 
and measures things by the compass of Truth, he will forsake all, and 
ridicule it as folly. 

That is the avowal miade by Charron in a book entitled " The Three 
Truths" page i8o. Edition of Bordeaux, 1593. t 

tThis inserted note is written on the back of a portion of a letter 
addressed to ^^ Prince graaft by de Sepigel straat. A Amsterdam" 
postmarked " Ce 4e. Aout. 174S." 


Of the Morals of Jesus Christ. 

As for his Morals, we see nothing more divine 
therein than in the writings of the ancients, or rather 
we find only what are only extracts or imitations. St. 
Augustin (ch. 9 and v. 20 of the Confessions, Book 7, ) 
even admits that he has found in some of their works 
nearly all of the beginning of the Gospel according to 
St. John. As far as may be seen, that Apostle is 
believed, in many places, to have stolen from other 
authors, and that it was not difficult to rob the Prophets 
of their enigmas and visions to make his Apocalypse. 
Whence comes the conformity which we find between 
the doctrine of the Old Testament and that of Plato f 
to say nothing of what the Rabbins have done, and 
those who have fabricated the Holy Writings from a 
mass of fragments stolen from this Grand Philosopher. 

Certainly the birth of the world has a thousand 
times more probability in his Timaeus than in Genesis, 
and it cannot be said that that comes from what Plato 
had read'in the books of the Jews during his travels in 
Egypt, for according to St. Augustin himself, (Con- 
fessions, Book 7, ch. 9, V. 20,) Ptolemy had not yet 
translated them. The description of the country of 
which Socrates speaks to Simias in the Phaedon (.^) 
has infinitely more grace than the Terrestrial Paradise 
(of Eden ) and the Androgynus^' is without comparison, 



better conceived than what Genesis says of the extrac- 
tion of Eve from one of the sides of Adam. Is there 
anything that more resembles the two accidents of 
Sodom and Go7norrah than that which happened to 
Phaeton? Is there anything more alike than the fall 
of Lucifer and that of Vulcan, or that of the giants 
cast down by the lightnings of Jupiter? Anything 
more similar than Samson and Hercules, Elijah and 
Phaeton, yoseph and Hippolitus, Nebuchadnezzar 
and Lycaon, Tantalus and the tormented rich man 
(Luke xvi, 24), the manna of the Israelites and the 
ajnbrosia of the Gods? St. Augustin — quoted from 
God, Book 6, chap. 14, — St. Cyrile and Theophylactus 
compare fonah with Hercules, surnamed Trinsitium 
( PTrinoctius), because he had dwelt three days and 
three nights in the belly of a whale. The river of 
Daniel, spoken of in the Prophets, ch. vii, is a visible 
imitation of Periphlegeton, which is mentioned by 
Plato in the Dialogue on the "Immortality of the 

Original sin has been taken from Pandora'' s box, 
the sacrifice of Isaac and Jephthah from the story of 
Iphigenia, although in the latter a hind was substi- 
tuted. What is said of Lot and his wife is quite like 
the tale which is told of Baucis and Philemon. In 
short, it is unquestionable that the authors of the Scrip- 
tures have transcribed word for word the works of 
Hesiod and Homer. 


But it seems that I have made quite a digression 
which, however, may not be unprofitable. Let us 
return then to Jesus, or rather, to his Morals. 

Celsus proves, by the account of Origen (Book 
VI, against Celsus), that he had taken from Plato his 


finest sentiments, such as that which says {Luke, 
c. xviii, V. 25), that a camel might sootier pass 
through the eye 0/ a needle than a rich man should 
enter the Kingdom of God. It was the sect of Pharisees 
of which he was, and who believed in him, which gave 
birth to this. What is said of the Immortality of 
the Soul, of the Resurrection, of Hell, and the greater 
part of his Morals, I see nothing more admirable than 
in the works of Epictetus, Epicurus and many others. 
In fact, the latter was cited by St. Jerome (Book 
VIII, against Jovian, ch. viii), as a man whose virtue 
puts to the blush better Christians, observing that all 
his -works -iv ere filled with but herbs, fruits and absti- 
nence, and whose delights were so temperate that his 
fnest repasts were but a little cheese, bread and 
water. With a life so frugal, this Philosopher, pagan 
as he was, said that it was better to be unlucky and 
rational, than tich and opulent without having good 
sense, adding, that it is rare that forttme and wisdom 
are found in the same individual, and that one could 
have no knowledge of happiness nor live with pleas- 
ure unless felicity was accompanied by prudence, 
justice and hojtesty, which are qualifications of a 
true and lasting' delight. 

As for Epictetus I do not believe that any man, not 
excepting Jestis himself, was more austere, more firm, 
more equitable, or more moral. I say nothing but 
what is easy to prove, and not to pass my prescribed 
limit I will not mention all the exemplary acts of his 
life, but give one single example of constancy which 
puts to shame the weakness and cowardice of fesus in 
the sight of death. Being a slave to a freeman named 
Epaphroditus, captain of the guards of Nero, it took 
the fancy of this brute to twist the leg of Epictetus. 
Epictetus perceiving that it gave him pleasure said to 
him, smiling, that he was well convinced that the game 


would not end until he had broken his leg ; in fact, this 
crisis happened. "Well," said Epictetus with an even 
smiling face, "did I not say that you would break my 
leg?" Was there courage equal to that? and could 
it have been said of Jesus Christ had he been the 
victim? He who wept and trembled with fear at the 
least alarm, and who evinced at his death a lack of 
spirit that never was witnessed in the majority of his 
martyrs . 

I doubt not but what it might be said of this action 
of Efictetus what the ignorant remark of the virtues 
of the Philosophers, that vanity was their principle, and 
that they were not what they seemed. But I say also 
that those who use such language are people who, in 
the pulpit, say all that comes into their heads — either 
good or evil — and they want the privilege of telling it 
all. I know also that when these babblers, sellers of 
air, wind and smoke, have vented all their strength 
against the champions of common sense they think they 
have well earned the revenues of their livings : that 
they have not merited a call to instruct the people unless 
they have declared against those who know what com- 
mon sense and true virtue is. 

So it is true that nothing in the world approaches 
so little to the manners of true scholars as the actions 
of the ignorant who decry them and who appear to 
have studied only to procure preferment which gives 
them bread ; and which preferment they worship and 
magnify when this height is attained, as if they had 
reached a condition of perfection, which, to those who 
succeed, is a condition of self-love, ease, pride and 
pleasure, following nothing less than the maxims of 
the religion which they profess. 

But let us leave these people who know not what 
virtue is, and examine the divinity of their Master. 


Of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. 

After having examined his poHcy and morals we 
have seen nothing more Divine than in the writings 
and conduct of tlie ancients. Let us see if the reputa- 
tion which followed him after his death is an evidence 
that he was God. Mankind is so accustomed to false 
reasoning that I am astonished that any one can reach 
a sane conclusion from their conduct. Experience 
shows that there is nothing they followed that is in any 
wise true, and that nothing has been done or said by 
them which gives any evidence of stability. In the 
meanwhile it is certain that common opinions are con- 
tinually surrounded with chimeras notwithstanding the 
efforts of the learned, which have always opposed them. 
Whatever care has been taken to extirpate follies the 
people have never abandoned them only after having 
been surfeited with them. Moses was proud to boast 
himself the Lieutenant of the Lord of Lords, and to 
prove his mission by extraordinary signs. If ever so 
little he absented himself (which he did from time to 
time to confer, as he said, with his God, as Numa and 
other lawgivers also did) he only found on his return 
traces of the worship of the Gods which the Israelites 
had seen in Egypt. He successfully held them forty 
years in the wilderness that they might lose the idea of 
those they had abandoned, and not being yet satisfied 
they obeyed him who led them, and bore firmly what- 
ever hardship they were caused to suffer in this regard. 


Only the hatred which they had conceived for 
other nations, by an arrogance of which most idiots are 
susceptible, made them insensibly forget the Gods of 
Egypt and attach themselves to those of Moses whom 
they adored, and sometimes with all the circumstance 
marked in the laws. But when they quitted these con- 
ditions little by Httle to follow those of Jesus Christ, I 
cannot see what inconstancy caused them to run after 
the novelty and change. 


The most ignorant Hebrews having given the most 
vogue to the law of Moses were the first to run after 
Jesus, and as their number was infinite and they encour- 
aged each other, it is not marvellous that these errors 
spread so easily. It is not that novelty does not always 
beget suffering, but it is the glory that is expected that 
one hopes will smooth the difficulties. Thus the Dis- 
ciples of Jesus, miserable as they were, reduced at 
times to nourish themselves with grains of corn which 
they gathered from the fields (Luke vi., i ), and seeing 
themselves shamefully excluded from places where 
they thought to enter to ease their fatigue (Luke ix., 
52-53) they began to be discouraged with living; their 
Master being without the pale of the law and unable to 
give them the benefits, glory and grandeur which he 
had promised them. 

After his death his disciples, in despair at seeing their 
hopes frustrated, and pursued by the Jews who wished 
to treat them as they had treated their Master, made a 
virtue of necessity and scattered over the country, where 
by the report of some women (John xx, 18) they told 
of his resurrection, his divine affiHation and the rest of 


the fables with which the Gospels are filled.* The 
trouble which they had to make progress among the 
Jews made them resolve to pass among the Gentiles, 
and try to serve themselves better among them ; but as 
it was necessary to have more learning for that than 
they possessed — the Gentiles being philosophers and 
too much in love with truth to resort to trifles — they 
gained over a young man (Saul or St. Paul) of an active 
and eager mind and a little better informed than the 
simple fishermen or than the greater babblers who asso- 
ciated with them. A stroke from Heaven made him 
blind, as is said (without this the trick would have been 
useless) and this incident for a time attracted some 
weak souls .« By the fear of Hell, taken from some of 
the fables of the ancient poets, and by the hope of a 
glorious Resurrection and a Paradise which is hardly 
more supportable than that of Mahomet ; all these 
procured for their Master the honor of passing for a 
God, which he himself was unable to obtain while 
living. In which this kind oi Jesus was no better than 
Homer: six cities which had driven the latter out with 
contempt and scorn during his life, disputed with each 
other after his death to determine with whom remained 
the honor of having been his birth-place. 

By this it may be seen that Christianity depends, 
like all other things, on the caprice of men, in whose 
opinion all passes either for good or bad, according as 
the notion strikes them. Further, if Jesus was God, 
nothing could resist him, for St. Paul (Romans, v. 19), 
is witness that nothing could overcome his will. Yet 

* Which determined the Etnperor fulian to abandon the sect of 
Nazarenes whose faith he regarded as a vulgar fiction of the human mind, 
which he found based solely on a simple tale of Perdiccas. 

a Also his belief in visions and the legend of his translation to Heaven. 


this passage is directly opposed to another in Genesis 
(iv, 7), where it is said that as the desires and appe- 
tites of man belong to him, who is the Master, so it is 
agreed to accord free-will to the master of animals, 
that is to say, man, for whom it is said God has created 
the universe. 

But without wandering in a maze of errors and 
positive contradictions, of which we have discoursed 
sufficiently, let us say something of Mahomet, who 
founded a law upon maxims totally opposed to those of 
Jesus Christ. 


Of Mahomet. 

Hardly had the Disciples of Jesus abandoned the 
Mosaic law to introduce the Christian, than mankind, 
with their usual caprice and ordinary inconstancy, 
suddenly changed their sentiments, and all the East 
was seen embracing the sentiments of the celebrated 
Arius, who had the boldness to oppose the fable of 
Jesus, and prove that he was no more a God than any 
other man. Thus Christianity was almost abolished, 
and there appeared a new law-giver, who, in less than 
ten years time, formed a considerable sect. This was 

To be well acquainted with him, it must be known 
that the part of Arabia where he was born, was 
commonly called "the Happy," by reason of its fertility, 
and being inhabited by people who formed several 
Republics, each RepubHc being a family called a 

a A friend of the celebrated Go//k.v having asked what the Mahometans 
said of their prophet, this wise professor sent him the following extract 
which contains an abridgement of the life of that Impostor taken from a 
manuscript in the Turkish language: " The Lord Mahomet Mustapha, of 
glorious memory, the greatest of the Prophets, was born in the fortieth 
year of the Empire of Anal Schiriaan, t\\&']n?,V. His holy nativity hap- 
pened the twelfth day in the second third of the month Rabia. Now, after 
the fortieth year of his age had passed, he was divinely inspired, received 
the crown of prophecy and the robe of Legation, which were brought him 
from God by the faithful messenger Gabriel, with instructions to call man- 
kind to Islamism. After this inspiration from God was received, he dwelt 
at Mecca for thirteen years. He left there aged fifty-three years the eighth 
day of the month Rabia, which was a Friday, and took refuge at Medina. 


''tribe," and having for its head the chief of the prin- 
cipal family, among those which composed the "tribe." 

That in which Mahomet was born was named the 
Tribe of Koreish, of which the principal family was 
that of Hashem, of which the chief was then a certain 
Abdul Motallab* grandfather of Mahomet, whose 
father, eldest son of Abdul Motallab, was named 

This tribe inhabited the shores of the Red sea, and 
Abdul Motallab was High Priest of the Temple of 
Mecca where were worshipped the Idols of the country. 
As Chief of his Tribe he was Prince of this country in 
which quality he had sustained the war against the 
King of Persia and the Emperor of Ethiopia, which 
shows that Maho?net was not of the riff-raff of the 

His father dying before his grandfather, his tender 
years caused him to lose the rights he had to the Sov- 
ereignty, which one of his uncles usurped. It was for 
this reason, not being able to succeed to the title of 
Prince, that he was reduced to the humble condition 
of shop-boy in the employ of a wealthy widow for 
whom he became afterwards factor. Having found 
him to her liking she married him and made him one 
of the richest citizens of Mecca. He was then about 

Now, it was there, after his retreat the twentieth day of the eleventh 
month, and the sixty-third year of his blessed life, he succeeded to the 
enjoyment of the divine presence. Some say that he was born while 
Abelaka,* his father, was yet living, others say after his death. Lady 
Amino, a daughter of the Wakabees, gave him for nurse lady Halima, of 
the tribe of Beni-Saad. Abdo Imutalib* his grandfather, gave him the 
blessed name of Mahomet. He had four sons and four daughters. The 
sons were Kasim, Ibrahim, Tha/ib and Thahir, and the daughters, Fatima, 
Omokeltum, Rakia and Zeineb. The companions of this august envoy of 
God were Abulekir, Omar, Osman and Ali, all of sacred memory. 

*These names, Abdul- Motallab and Abdallah, in Arabic, seem to be 
rendered Abdo-Imutalib and Abelaka in the Turkish language. — A. N. 


30 years of age, and seeing at hand the means to enforce 
his rights, his ambitions awakened, and he meditated in 
what manner he could re-establish himself in the dignity 
of his grandfather. 

The correspondence that he had had with Chris- 
tians in Egypt and Jetvs in Judea, where he had traded 
a long time for his wife while he was only her factor, 
gave him an opportunity of knowing who Moses was 
and also Jesus Christ. He also had remarked into how 
many different sects their Religion was divided, and 
which produced such diversity of opinions, and the zeal 
of each sect. By this he profited, and he believed he 
could better succeed in the interest of establishing a 
new Religion. The conditions of the time when he 
formed this design were very favorable to him, for 
nearly all of the Arabs, disgusted with the worship of 
their Idols, were fallen into a species of Atheism. 
Thus Mahomet began by leading a retired life, being 
exemplary, seeking solitude, and passing the greater 
part of the day in prayers and meditations. He caused 
himself to be admired for his modest demeanor, and 
commenced to speak of revelations and visions. By 
such action is gained the credence of the populace, and 
by such methods Moses and Jesus commenced. He 
called himself a prophet and an envoy of God, and 
having as much skill as his predecessors in working 
miracles, he soon gained attention, then admiration, 
and soon after the confidence of the people. A yew 
and a Christian monk who were in his conspiracy aided 
him in his dextrous moves, and he soon became power- 
ful enough to resist a vigorous man named Corais, a 
learned Arab, who endeavored to expose his imposture. 

During this time his uncle, the governor of Mecca, 
died, and not being yet strong enough to assume the 


authority of sovereign, he was obliged to yield to one 
of his kinsmen who, penetrating his designs, obliged 
him to flee from Mecca and take refuge at Medina, 
where one party in the city who were Arian Christians 
joined him. 

Then he ceased to support his authority by argu- 
ment, and persuaded his disciples to plant the Mussul- 
man faith at the point of the sword. Having strength- 
ened his party by alliances, marrying his daughters to 
four of the principal citizens of Medina, he was in 
condition to place armies in the field who subjugated 
the various tribes, one after the other, and with whom 
he finally seized Mecca. He did not die until after he 
had accomplished his purpose by his hypocrisy and 
imposture, which elevated him to the dignity of sover- 
eign, which he transmitted to his successors, and his 
faith so well established that there has been no evidence 
of its failure for six hundred years, and yet it may be 
upon the eve of its destruction. 


Thus Mahomet was more fortunate than Jesus 
Christ. After having labored during twenty-three years 
in the establishment of his Law and Religion, he saw its 
progress before his death, and having an assurance 
which Jesus Christ had not, that it would exist a long 
time after his death, since he prudently accommodated 
the genius and passions of his followers. 

Such was the last of these three impostors. Moses 
threw himself into an abyss by an excess of ambition to 
cause himself to be beUeved immortal. Jesus Christ 
was ignominiously hung up between two thieves, being 
covered with shame as a recompense for his imposture, 
and lastly, Mahomet died in reality in his own bed, and 


in the midst of grandeur, but with his bowels consumed 
by poison given him by a young Jewess, to determine 
if he really was a prophet. 

This is all that can be said of these four* celebrated 
impostors. They were just as we have painted them 
after nature, and without giving any false shading to 
their portraits, that it may be judged if they merited 
any confidence, and if it is excusable to be led by these 
guides, whom ambition and trickery have elevated, and 
whom ignorance has destroyed. 

*This includes Numa Pomfilius. — A. N. 



It is not sufficient to have discovered the disease if 
we do not apply a remedy. It would be better to 
leave the sick man in ignorance. Error can only be 
cured by Truth, and since Moses, yesus and Mahomet 
were what we have represented them, we should not 
seek in their writings for the veritable idea of the 
Divinity. The apparitions and the divine conformation 
of the former and the latter, and the divine filiation of 
the second, are sufficient to convince us that all is but 


God is either a natural being or one of infinite 
extent who resembles what he contains, that is to say, 
that he is material without being, nevertheless, neither 
just nor merciful, nor jealous, nor a God in any way as 
may be imagined, and as a consequence is neither a 
punisher nor a remunerator. This idea of punishment 
and recompense only exists in the minds of the ignorant 
who only conceive that simple being called God, under 
images which by no means represent him. Those who 
use their understanding without confounding its opera- 
tions with those of the imagination, and who are power- 
ful enough to abandon the prejudice of a limited educa- 
tion, are the only ones who have sound, clear and distinct 
ideas. They consider him as the source of all beings 
which are produced without distinction : one being no 
more than another in His regard, and man no more 
difficult to produce than a worm or a flower. 




That is why it is not to be believed that this natural 
and infinite being which is commonly called God, 
esteems man more than an ant, or a Hon more than a 
stone, or any other being more than a phantasy, or who 
has any regard for beauty or ugliness, for good or bad, 
for the perfect or imperfect. Or that he desires to be 
praised, prayed, sought for or caressed, or that he 
cares what men are, or say, whether susceptible of 
love or hate, or in a word that he thinks more of man 
than of any other creatures of whatever nature they 
be. All these distinctions are only the invention of a 
narrow mind, that is to say, ignorance has created them 
and interest keeps them alive. 


Thus there is no good sensible man who can be 
convinced of hell, a soul, spirits or devils, in the manner 
of which they are commonly spoken. All these great 
senseless words have only been contrived to delude or 
intimidate the people. Let those then who wish to 
know the truth read what follows, with a liberal spirit 
and an intention to only give their judgment with de- 


The myriads of stars that we see above us are 
allowed to be so many solid bodies which move, and 
among which there is not one designed as the Court 
Divine where God is like a King in the midst of his 
courtiers ; which is the abode of the blest, and where 
all good souls fly after leaving this body and world. 
But without burdening ourselves with such a rude and 
ill-conceived opinion, and that it may not be entertained 
by any man of good sense, it is certain that what is 



called Heaven is nothing but the continuation of our 
atmosphere, more subtile and more refined, where the 
stars move without being sustained by any solid mass 
more than the Earth on which we live, and which like 
the stars is suspended in the midst of space. 


As may be imagined, a Heaven intended for the 
eternal abode of the happy and of God, was the same 
among the Pagans. Gods and goddesses were also 
represented in the same way, also a Hell or a subter- 
ranean place where it was pretended that the wicked 
souls descended to be tormented. But this word "hell" 
taken in its proper and natural signification means 
nothing but a "lower place," which poets have in- 
vented to oppose the dwelling of the celestial inhabit- 
ants, who are said to be very sublime and exalted. 
That is what the Latin word Infernus or inferi sig- 
nifies, and also the Greek word (i-SiJ-i*, that is to say, an 
obscure place like the sepulchre, or any other low and 
hidden place. All the rest of what has been said is 
only pure fiction and the invention of poets whose sym- 
bolical discourses are taken literally by feeble, timid 
and melancholy minds, as well as by those who are 
interested in sustaining this opinion. 

* Hades. 



The Soul is something more delicate and more 
difficult to treat of than either Heaven or Hell. That 
is why it is proper to satisfy Your Majesty's curiosity, 
to speak of it a little more at length. Before saying 
what I desire on this subject, I will recall in a few words 
what the most celebrated Philosophers have thought 
of it. 


Some have said that the Soul is a spirit or an im- 
material substance ; others, a kind of divinity ; some, a 
very subtile air, and others a harmony of all parts of 
the body. Again, others have remarked that it is the 
most subtile and fine part of the blood, which is sep- 
arated from it in the brain and is distributed by the 
nerves : so that the source of the Soul is the heart where 
it is produced, and the place where it performs its 
noblest function is the Brain, because there it is well 
purified from the grosser parts of the blood. These are 
the principal opinions which have been held concerning 
the Soul, but to render them more perceptible let us 
divide them into material and spiritzial, and name 
the supporters of each theory that we may not err. 


Pythagoras and Plato have said that the soul is 
spiritual, that is to say, a being capable of existence 
without the aid of the body, and can move itself : that 


all the particular souls of animals are portions of the 
universal soul of the world : that these portions are 
spiritual and immortal, and of the same nature, as we 
may conceive that one hundred little fires are of the 
same nature as the great fire at which they have been 


These philosophers believed the animated universe 
a substance, spiritual, immortal and invisible, pursuing 
always that which attracts, which is the source of all 
movements, and of all Souls which are small particles 
of it. Now, as Souls are very pure, and infinitely 
superior to the body, they do not unite immediately, 
but by means of a subtile body, such as flame, or that 
subtile and extensive air which the vulgar take for 
heaven. Afterwards they take a body less subtile, then 
another a little more impure, and always thus by 
degrees, until they can unite with the sensible bodies of 
animals, whence {sic) they descend like into dungeons 
or sepulchres. The death of the body, they say, is the 
life of the soul wherein it was buried, and where it 
exercises but weakly its most beautiful functions. 

Thus at the death of the body the soul comes out 
of its prison untrammelled by matter, and reunites with 
the soul of the universe, from whence it came. Thus, 
following this thought, all the Souls of animals are of 
the same nature, and the diversity of their functions 
comes only from the difference in the bodies that they 

Aristotle admits further, a universal understanding 
common to all beings, and which acts in regard to 
particular intelligences as Hght does in regard to the 
eyes ; and as light makes objects visible, the universal 
understanding makes objects inteUigible. This philos- 


opher defines the Soul as that which makes us Hve, feel, 
think and move, but he does not say what the Being is 
that is the source and principle of these noble functions, 
and consequently we must not look to him to dispel the 
doubt which exists concerning the Nature of the Soul. 


Dicearchus, Asclesiade ( ? Esculapius), and in 
some ways Galen, have also believed the soul to be 
incorporeal, but in another manner, for they have said 
that it is nothing more than the harmony of all parts of 
the body, that is to say, that which results in an exact 
blending and disposition of the humors and spirits. 
Thus, they say, health is not a part of him who is well, 
however it be his condition, so that, however, the soul 
be in the animal, it is not one of its parts, but a mutual 
accord of all of which it is composed. On which it is 
remarked that these authors believe the soul to be 
incorporeal, on a principle quite opposed to their intent, 
by saying that it is not a body, but only something 
inseparably attached to a body, that is to say, in good 
reasoning, that it is quite corporeal, since corporeality 
is not only that which is a body, but a// which vi form 
or accident that cannot be separated from matter. 

These are the philosophers who have believed the 
soul incorporeal or immaterial, who, as you see, are not 
in accord with themselves, and coiisequently do not 
merit any belief. Let us now consider those who have 
avowed it to be a body. 


Diogenes believed that it was formed of air, from 
which he has inferred the necessity of breathing, and 
defines it as an air which passes from the mouth 



through the lungs to the heart, where it is warmed, 
and from whence it is distributed through the entire 

JLeucippus and Democritus have claimed that it 
was Fire, as that element is composed of atoms which 
easily penetrate all parts of the body, and makes it 
move. Hippocrates has said that it is a composition 
of water and fire. Efnpedocles says that it includes 
the four elements. Epicurus believed like Democritus, 
that the soul is composed of fire, but he adds that in 
that composition there enters some air, a vapor, and 
another nameless substance of which is formed a very 
subtile spirit, which spreads through the body and 
and which is called the soul. 


Not to shuffle, as all these philosophers have done, 
and to have as perfect an idea as is possible of the souls 
of animals, let us admit that in all, without excepting 
man, it is of the same nature, and has no different 
functions, but by reason of the diversity of organs and 
humors ; hence we must believe what follows. 

It is certain that there is in the universe a very 
subtile spirit, or a very delicate matter, and always in 
motion, the source of which is in the Sun, and the 
remainder is spread in all the other bodies, more or 
less, according to Nature or their consistency. That 
is the Soul of the Universe which governs and vivifies 
it, and of which some portion is distributed among all 
the parts that compose it. This Soul, and the most 
pure Fire which is in the universe does not burn of 
itself, but by the different movements that it gives to 
the particles of other bodies where it enters, it burns 
and reflects its heat. The visible fire has more of this 


spirit than air, the latter more than water, and the 
earth much less than the latter. Among the mixed 
bodies, plants have more than minerals, and animals 
more than either. To conclude, this fire being 
enclosed in the body, it is rendered capable of thought, 
and that is what is called the soul, or what is called 
animal spirits, which are spread in all parts of the 
body. Now, it is certain that this soul being of the 
same nature in all animals, disperses at the death of 
man in the same manner as in other animals, from 
whence it follows that what Poets and Theologians 
sing or preach of the other world, is a chimera which 
they have invented, and which they narrate for reasons 
that are easy to guess. 



We have fully commented on how the belief in 
Spirits was introduced among men, and how these 
Spirits were but phantoms which existed in their 
imagination. The ancient Philosophers were not 
sufficiently clear to explain to the people what these 
phantoms were, and did not allow themselves to say 
that they could raise them. Some seeing that these 
phantoms dissolved and had no consistency, called 
them ifnmaterial, incorporeal, forms without matter, 
or colors and figures, without being, nevertheless, 
bodies either colored or defined, adding that they 
could cover themselves with air like a mantle when 
they wished to render themselves visible to the eyes of 
men. Others said that they were animated bodies, but 
were composed of air, or some other more subtile 
matter which condensed at their will when they wished 
to appear. 


These two kinds of Philosophers being opposed in 
the opinion which they had of phantoms, agreed in the 
name which they gave them, for all called Xh&vs\ Demons, 
in which they were but little more enlightened than 
those who believed they saw in their sleep the souls of 
the dead, and that it is their soul which they see when 
they look in a mirror, and who also beUeved that they 
saw (reflected) in the water the souls of the stars. 
After this fooUsh fancy they fell into an error which is 


hardly less supportable, that is, the current idea that 
these phantoms had infinite power. An absurd but 
ordinary belief with the ignorant who imagined that 
whatever they did not understand was an infinite power. 


This ridiculous opinion was no sooner published 
than the Sovereigns began to use it to support their 
power. They established a belief concerning spirits 
which they called Religion, so that the fear which the 
people possessed for invisible powers would hold them 
to their obedience. To have it carry more influence 
they distinguished the demons as good and bad. The 
latter to encourage men to obey their laws, and the 
former to restrain and prevent them from infringing 
them. Now to learn what these demons were it is 
only necessary to read the Greek poets and their his- 
tories, and above all what /7e520(f says in his Theogony 
where he fully treats of the origin and propagation of 

the Gods. 


The Greeks were the first who invented them, and 
by them they were propagated through the medium of 
their colonies, and their conquests in Asia, Egypt and 
Italy. The Jews who were dispersed in Alexandria and 
elsewhere got their acquaintance with them from the 
Greeks. They used them as effectively as the other 
peoples but with this difference, they did not call them 
Demons like the Greeks, but good and bad spirits ; 
reserving for the good Demons the name of Spirit of 
God, and calling those Prophets who were said to 
possess this good spirit called the Divine, which they 
held as responsible for great blessings, and cacodaemons 
or Evil spirits on the contrary those which were pro- 
vocative of great Evil. 




This distinction of good and evil made them name 
as Demoniacs those whom we call lunatics, visionaries, 
madmen and epileptics, and those who spoke to them 
in an unknown tongue. A man ill-shaped and of evil 
look was to their notion possessed of an unclean spirit, 
and a mute of a dumb s-pirit. Now, these words spirit 
and demon became so familiar to them that they spoke 
of them on all occasions, so that it is evident that the 
Jews believed like the Greeks, that these phantoms were 
not mere chimeras and visions, but real beings that 
existed independent of imagination. 


So it happens that the Bible is quite filled with these 
words Spirits, Demons and Fiends, but nowhere is it 
said when they were first known, nor the time of their 
creation, which is hardly pardonable in Moses, who is 
earnest in depicting the Creation of Heaven, Earth and 
Man. No more then is Jesus Christ who had such 
close intimacy with them, who commanded them so 
absolutely according to the Gospel, and who spoke so 
often of angels and good and bad spirits, but without 
saying whether they were corporeal or spiritual ; which 
makes it plain that he knew no more than the Greeks 
had taught other nations, in which he is not less 
culpable than for denying to all men the virtue of faith 
and piety which he professed to be able to give them. 

But to return to the Spirits. It is certain that the 
words Demon, Satan and Devil, are not proper names 
which designated any individual, and which never have 
any credence but among the ignorant; as much among 
the Greeks who invented them, as among the Jews 
where they were tolerated. So the latter being over- 


run hy them gave them names — which signified enemy, 
accuser, inquisitor, — as well to invisible powers as to 
their own adversaries, the Gentiles, whom they said 
inhabited the Kingdom of Satan ; there being none but 
themselves, in their own opinion, who dwelt in that of 



As Jesus Christ was a Jew, and consequently 
imbued with these silly opinions, we read everywhere 
in the Gospels, and in the writings of his Disciples, of 
the Devil, of Satan and Hell as if they were something 
real and effective. While it is true, as we have shown, 
that there is nothing more imaginary, and when what 
we have said is not sufficient to prove it, but two words 
will suffice to convince the most obstinate. All 
Christians agree unanimously that God is the first prin- 
ciple and the foundation of all things, that he has 
created and preserves them, and without his support 
they would fall into nothingness. Following this 
principle it is certain that God must have created what 
is called the Devil, and Satan, as well as the rest, and 
if he has created both good and evil, why not all the 
balance, and if by this principle all evil exists, it can 
only be by the intervention of God. 

Now can one conceive that God would maintain 
a creature, not only who curses him unceasingly, and 
who mortally hates him, but even who endeavors to 
corrupt his friends, to have the pleasure of being cursed 
by a multitude of mouths. How can we comprehend 
that God should preserve the Devil to have him do his 
worst to dethrone him if he could, and to alienate from 
his service his elect and his favorites.? What would be 
the object of God in such conduct.? Now what can 
we say in speaking of the Devil and Hell. If God does 


all, and nothing can be done without him how does it 
happen that the Devil hates him, curses him, and takes 
away his friends? Now he is either agreeable, or he is 
not. If he is agreeable, it is certain that the Devil in 
cursing him only does what he should, since he can only 
do what God wills. Consequently, it is not the Devil, 
but God in person who curses himself ; a situation to 
my idea more absurd than ever. 

If it is not in accord with his will then it is not true 
that he is all powerful. Thus there are two principles, 
one of Good, the other of Evil, one which causes one 
thing and the other that does quite the contrary. To what 
does this reasoning lead us.? To avow without contra- 
diction that there is no God such as is conceived, nor 
Devil, nor Soul, nor Paradise, such as has been depicted, 
and that the Theologians, that is to say, those who 
relate fables for truth, are persons of bad faith who 
maliciously abuse the credulity of the ignorant by telling 
them what they please, as if the people were capable 
of nothing but chimera or who should be fed with insipid 
food in which is found only emptiness, nothingness and 
folly, and not a grain of the salt of truth and wisdom. 
Centuries have passed, one after the other, in which 
mankind has been infatuated by these absurd imagina- 
tions which have been combatted ; but during all the 
period there have also been found sincere minds who 
have written against the injustice of the Doctors in 
Tiaras, Mitres and Gowns, who have kept mankind in 
such deplorable blindness which seems to increase every 



By permission of the Lord Baron de Hohendorf 
I have compiled this epitome out of the manuscript 
Library of his Most August Highness, Duke Eugene 
of Sabaudio, in the year 1716. 




Another sketch of Mahomet translated from the 
"Edition en Suisse," 1793, and which may interest 
worshippers of Arabian mysteries evolved from imagi- 
native brains, tinctured with extracts from " Thory^ s 
Acta Latomorwm^'' and similar works, and embellished 
with effects from " Michael Strogoff.'''' 


Of Mahomet. 

Hardly had the disciples of Christ abolished the 
Mosaic law to introduce the Christian dispensation, 
than mankind, carried away by force, and by their 
ordinary inconstancy, followed a new law-giver, who 
advanced himself by the same methods as Moses. He 
assumed, like him, the title of prophet, and envoy of 
God, like him he performed miracles and knew how to 
profit by the passions of the people. First he was 
accompanied by an ignorant rabble, to whom he 
explained the new oracles of heaven. These unfortu- 
nates, seduced by the promises and fables of this new 
impostor, spread his renown and exalted him to a 
height that eclipsed his predecessors. 


Mahomet was not a man who appeared capable of 
founding an empire, as he excelled neither in polities'' 
nor philosophy ; in fact, could neither read nor write. 
He had so little firmness that he would often have 
abandoned his enterprise had he not been forced to 
persist in his undertaking by the skill of one of his 
followers. From that time he commenced to rise 
and become celebrated. Corais, a powerful Arab, 
jealous that a man of his birth should have the 
audacity to deceive the people, declared himself his 
enemy, and attempted to cross his enterprise, but the 
people persuaded that Mahomet had continual confer- 
ences with God and his angels caused him to prevail 
over his enemy. The tribe of Corais were at a dis- 
advantage and Mahomet seeing himself followed by a 
crazy crowd who thought him a divine man, thought 
he would have no need of a companion, but fearing 
that the latter (Corais) might expose his impostures 
he tried to prevent it, and to do it more certainly he 
overwhelmed him with promises, and swore to him 
that he wished only to become great by sharing the 
power to which he had contributed. "We have 

«" Mahomet," says the Count de Boulainvilliers, " was ignorant of 
common knowledge, as I believe, but he assuredly knew much of what a 
great traveler might acquire with much native wit, when he employed it 
usefully. He was not ignorant of his own language, the use of which, and 
not by reading, taught him its nicety and beauty. He was not ignorant of 
the art of knowing how to render odious what was truly culpable, and to 
portray the truth with simple and lively colors in a manner which could not 
be forgotten. In fact, all that he has said is true in comparison with the 
essential dogmas of religion, but he has not said all that is true. It is in 
that particular alone that our Religion differs from his." He adds further 
on, " that Mahomet was neither rude nor barbarous, that he conducted his 
enterprise with all the art, delicacy, constancy, intrepidity, and all the 
other great qualities which would have actuated Alexander or Cesar were 
they in his place." Life of Mahomet, bv Count de Boulainvilliers . Book 
II., ff. S66-7-8. Amsterdam Edition, 1731. 


reached," said he, "the moment of our elevation, we 
are sure of the great multitude we have gained, and we 
must now assure ourselves by the artifice you have so 
happily conceived." At the same time he induced him 
to hide himself in the cave of oracles. There was a 
dried-up well from which he made the people be- 
lieve that the voice of God declared himself for Ma- 
homet, who was in the midst of his proselytes. De- 
ceived by the caresses of this traitor, his associate went 
into the well to counterfeit the oracle as usual ; Ma- 
homet then passing by at the head of an infatuated 
multitude a voice was heard saying : "I who am your 
God, declare that I have established Mahomet as the 
prophet of all nations : from him you will learn my true 
law which has been changed by the Jews and the Chris- 
tians." For a long time this man played this game, but 
in the end he was paid by the greatest and blackest in- 
gratitude. Mahomet hearing the voice which pro- 
claimed him a divine being, turned towards the people 
and commanded them in the name of the God who 
recognized him as his prophet, to fill with stones the 
ditch from whence had issued such authentic testimony 
in his favor, in memory of the stone which Jacob raised 
to mark the place where God appeared to him.* Thus 
perished the unfortunate person who had contributed 
to the elevation of Mahomet ; it was on this heap of 
stones that the last of the celebrated prophets estab- 
lished his law. This foundation is so stable and founded 
in such a way that after a thousand years of reign it has 
no appearance of being overthrown. 

♦Genesis ch. xxviii., v. 18. 











Many maintain that there is a God, and that he 
should be worshipped, before they understand either 
what a God is, or what it is to be, as far as being is 
common to bodies and spirits, according to the distinc- 
tion they make ; and what it is to worship God, 
although they regard the worship of God according to 
the standard of the honor given to ruling men. 

What God is, they describe according to the con- 
fession of their own ignorance. For it is inevitable 
that they declare how he differs from other things by 
the denial of former conceptions. They cannot com- 
prehend that there is an infinite being; that is, one of 
whose limits they are ignorant. There is a creator of 
heaven and earth, they say, but who is his creator they 
do not say, because they do not know ; because they 
do not understand. Some say that he is the origin of 
himself and maintain that he comes from nothing but 
himself. We do not understand his origin they say, 
therefore he has none ( why so } if we do not understand 
God himself, is there, therefore, no God.?) And this 
is the first principle of their ignorance. 

There is no progression into infinity; why not.? 
because the human intellect must have some foundation ? 
because it is accustomed to this belief.? because it 
cannot imagine anything beyond its own limits.? As if, 
indeed, it followed, that if I do not comprehend 
infinity, therefore there is no infinity. 

And nevertheless as is known from experience, 
some among the members of the sects of Christ, think 


there is an infinite progression of divine properties or 
persons, concerning the limitations of which, however, 
there has hitherto been dispute, and so indeed they think 
that there is a progression into infinity. For the son is 
begotten from infinity, and the holy spirit is breathed 
from infinity. This begetting and this procession goes 
on to infinity. For if that begetting or that breathing 
of the spirit had begun or should once have ceased, the 
conception of eternity would be destroyed. But if you 
should agree with them on this point also, that the 
creation of man can not be prolonged to infinity, which 
they infer, however, on account of their finite minds, 
it will not yet be evident whether other beings have 
not been begotten among the higher powers, in a 
peculiar manner and in great number, as well as among 
men on earth ; and who of this great number should 
especially be accepted as God. For every rehgion 
admits that there are Gods who are mediators, although 
they are not all under equal limitations, whence that 
principle, that there must be one being only, raised 
above men by his own nature, is evidently demolished. 
And so it will be possible to say that from a diversity 
of Gods as creators, a diversity of religions, and a 
variety of kinds of worship afterwards arose : which 
the religious feeling of the heathen especially employed. 
But as to the objection which is raised about the mur- 
ders and the concubinage of the Pagan Gods, aside 
from the fact that the Pagans have long since shown 
that these things must be understood as mysteries, sim- 
ilar things will be found in other religions . 

The slaughter of many tribes was perpetrated by 
Moses and Joshua at the command of God. Even 
human sacrifice the God of Israel demanded of Abra- 
ham, but it was not carried into effect in this remarkable 


But he could either not have given a command, or 
Abraham could not have believed that it had been given 
in earnest, which would have been in itself utterly at 
variance with the nature of God. Mahomet promises 
the whole world as the reward offered by his religion, 
and Christians talk about the universal slaughter of 
their enemies and the subjugation of the foes of the 
church, which indeed has not been insignificant, from 
the fact that the church had the entire control of public 
affairs . 

Was not polygamy also permitted by (Mohammed) 
Moses, and as some maintain, even in the New Testa- 
ment, by Christ? Did not the Holy Spirit beget the 
son of God by a peculiar union with a betrothed virgin? 

As for other objections which are made to the 
pagans about their ridiculous idols, and their misuse of 
worship, they are not so weighty that similar ones 
can not be made to the members of other sects; never- 
theless it can easily be proved that these abuses have 
proceeded from the subordinates rather than from the 
leaders, from the disciples, rather than from the 
masters of religions. 

But to return to the former argument. This being, 
— since the intellect limits its extent, — is what some call 
Nature and others God. On these points some agree, 
others disagree. Some fancy that the worlds have 
existed from eternity, and call the connection of things 
God ; certain ones call God an individual being, which 
can be neither seen or known, although among these 
disputes are not infrequent. 

Religion, as far as it concerns worship, some 
attribute to the fear, some to the love, of invisible 
powers. But if the invisible powers are false, idolatry 
is just as the principles of each worshipper demand. 


They will have it that love springs from kindness 
and refer it to gratitude ; although nevertheless it chiefly 
arises from the sympathy of humors. The kind 
deeds of enemies inspire especially violent hatred al- 
though no one of the hypocrites has dared to confess 
it. But v\^ho would suppose that love arises from the 
kindness of him who gave to man the characteristics of 
a lion, a bear and other wild beasts that he might 
assume a nature contrary to the will of the creator? 
Who, well knowing the weakness of human nature, 
placed before [our progenitors] a tree, by which he 
was sure they would bring a fatal sentence upon them- 
selves and their descendants (as some will have it)? 
And yet the latter are bound to worship and to perform 
deeds of gratitude, as if for a great favor. Forsooth ! 
So the Ithacan may have it, etc. Take deadly arms, 
a sword for instance, and if you had the most certain 
foreknowledge (which some claim for God also in this 
very case, inasmuch as there can be no chance with 
God) of the very purpose that he, before whose eyes 
you place it, will seize it and inflict on himself and all 
his descendants the most dreadful death. (He who 
has still one drop of the milk of human kindness will 
shudder to do such a deed). Take, I say, a sword, 
you who are a father, for instance, or you who are a 
friend ; and if you are a father, if you are a real friend, 
present it to your friend, or your children, with the 
command that they should not run upon it, you fore- 
seeing beyond all doubt, nevertheless, that he will run 
upon it, and inflict on his children and those hitherto 
innocent, the most dreadful death. Consider, you who 
are a father, would you do such a thing? What is it to 
make a command a mockery, if this is not? And never- 
theless God must have given such a command. But 


they maintain that God should be worshipped for his 
kindness, saying : If God is, he must be worshipped ; 
just as they make this inference, the Great Mogul is, 
therefore he must be worshipped. His own people do 
indeed worship him, but why? assuredly that his un- 
bridled pride and that of all great men may be gratified, 
and for no other reason. For he is worshipped chiefly 
on account of the fear of his visible power (hence at 
his death the worship ceases), and then too on account 
of the hope of rewards. This same reason exists for 
the reverence shown parents and other people in power; 
and since invisible powers are considered more im- 
portant and greater than visible ones, therefore, they 
will have it that still more should they be worshipped. 
And this God should be worshipped on account of his 
love, they say. And what kind of love is it to expose 
innocent posterity to infinite suffering on account of the 
fall of one man, certainly foreseen and therefore fore- 
ordained (foreordained as far at least as being per- 
mitted). But, you say, they are to be redeemed. But 
how.f* The father exposes his only son to extreme suf- 
fering, that he may deliver the other man from tortures 
no greater, because of the redemption offered by the 

The Barbarians had no such silly idea. But why 
should God be loved, why worshipped? because he 
created us? But to what end? that we should fall! 
because assuredly he had foreknowledge that [our 
progenitors] would fall, and set before them the 
medium of the forbidden fruit, without which they 
could not have fallen. Granted, however, that he 
should be worshipped because on him all things depend 
for their creation ; some, nevertheless, add, for their 
continued existence also, and their preservation. Why 


should God be worshipped? Does he himself delight 
in worship? Certainly. Parents and benefactors are 
honored among us. But why is this honor given? 
Human nature has regard for mutual wants and, the 
bestowal of honor is due to the idea that we can be 
aided by a greater and more enduring power. No one 
wishes to aid another unless his own wants are satisfied 
in turn. That is called a person's recognition of kind- 
ness and gratitude, which demands a greater recognition 
of his own kindness ; and in order that his reputation 
may be spread abroad, it demands that the other be 
ready, as a handmaid, so to speak, to inspire in others 
an idea of his fame and nobility. Doubtless the idea 
others may entertain of our ability to be of service to 
general or individual needs, tickles us, and raises 
plumes for us like those of a peacock, wherefore gen- 
erosity is found among the virtues. But who does not 
see the imperfection of our nature ? Who, however, 
would say that God, the most perfect of all beings, 
wants anything? Or that he wishes for any such thing 
if he is perfect and already self-sufficient and honored 
without any external honors. Who would say that he 
wants honor except those who persist in honoring him? 

The desire for honor is a sign of imperfection and 
lack of power. 

The consensus of opinion among all races on this 
subject, is urged by those who have talked with 
scarcely all even of their own friends, or have examined 
three or four books treating of the testimony of the 
world, not even carefully considering how far the 
authors had knowledge of the customs of the world ; 
but those excellent authors were not familiar with all 
customs. Notice, however, that when one is consid- 
ering the matter, the objection here arises, that the 


fundamental reasons for worship are connected with 
God himself and his works, and not with the elementary 
constitution of any society. F'or there is no one who 
is not aware that worship is due to the custom, preva- 
lent among the ruling and rich classes especially, of 
maintaining some external form of religion in order to 
calm the passions of the people. 

But if you are concerned about the former reason, 
who would believe that in the principal seat of the 
Christian rehgion, — Italy, — there are so many free- 
thinkers, or to speak more meaningly. Atheists, and if 
he should believe it, would say that there is a consensus 
of opinion among all races. God is, therefore should 
he be worshipped.? Because, forsooth, the wiser men 
at least say so? Who, pray, are the wiser? The 
high priest, the augurs, the soothsayers of the ancients, 
Cicero, Caesar, the leading men and their priestly 
adherents, etc. 

Would they let it be known that such practices were 
to their interests? Doubtless those in control of public 
affairs, deriving their profits froin the credulit}^ of the 
people, told fear-inspiring stories of the power and 
vengeance of the invisible gods, and lied about their 
own occasional meetings and association with them ; 
and demanded in proportion to their own luxury beings 
suitable for or even surpassing themselves. For it is 
not to be wondered at that priests promulgate such 
teachings, since this is their method of maintaining 
their own lives. And such are the teachings of the 
wiser men. 

This world may depend on the control of a prime 
mover ; this is certainly the fact — that the dependence 
will be only at the start. For why might there not 
have been a first command of God, such that every- 


thing would go in a foreordained course to a fixed end, 
if he wished to fix one. There would no longer be 
need of new care, dependence or support, but he might 
at first have endowed every one with sufficient powers. 
And why should it not be said that he did this.? For it 
is not to be supposed that he visits all the elements and 
parts of the universe as a physician does a sick man. 

What then is to be said of the testimony of con- 
science.? and whence would come those fears of the 
mind because of wrong-doing, were it not evident that 
there is near us a higher power who sees and punishes 
us, whom wrong-doing displeases just as it is altogether 
at variance with worship of him? It is not now my 
purpose to inquire more deeply into the nature of good 
and evil nor the dangers of prejudice and the folly of 
great fear which springs from preconceived ideas. 
This merely I say. Whence did they arise.? especially 
since all evil-doing depends on the corruption and 
destruction of the harmony resulting from the inter- 
change of services in the wants to which the human 
race is subject, and since the idea about one who wishes 
to increase rather than to be of aid in those wants, 
renders him an object of hatred. Whence it happens 
that he himself may fear lest he may incur the hatred 
and contempt of others, or a Hke refusal to satisfy his 
wants ; or may lose his power of being of service not 
only to others but to himself, in so far indeed as he 
needs to fear any harm from being wronged by others. 

And so, they say, those who do not have the Hght 
of Holy Scriptures, follow the natural Hght in accord- 
ance with the dictates of their consciences, which 
proves to be sure, that God has endowed the intellect of 
all men with some sparks of his own knowledge and 
will, and if they act according to these it must be said 


that they have done right. For what reason of theirs 
can be a command to worship God if this is not? But 
it is maintained on many grounds that beasts act 
according to the guide of reason, and this matter has 
not yet been decided ; nevertheless I do not urge this. 
Who has said anything to you to prove that this does 
not occur, or that a trained animal does not at times 
surpass an ignorant and uneducated man in intellect 
and powers of judgment? But to speak to the point, 
the majority of men of leisure who have had time to 
consider subtile ideas and those beyond the compre- 
hension of the ordinary intellect, in order to gratify 
their own pride and promote their own advantage, 
have devised many subtile principles for which Alexis 
and Thyrsis, prevented by their pastoral and rustic 
duties, could have had no leisure. Wherefore, the 
latter have placed confidence in the philosophers of 
leisure, as if they were wiser, while they are more 
fitted to impose on the foolish. Hence, good Alexis, 
go to, worship the sylvan Pans, Satyrs and Dianas, etc. 
For the great philosophers will tell you about the 
dream of Numa Pompilius, and narrate to you the 
story of his concubinage with the nymph Aegeria, and 
they will wish by this very account to bind you to his 
worship, and as a reward for this pious work, because 
of the reconciliation and favor of those invisible powers, 
they will demand for their own support, the flower of 
your flock and your labor as a sacrifice. And hence, 
since Titius worshipped Pan, Alexis, the Fauns, Rome, 
the Gods of War, Athens, the unknown Gods, is it to 
be supposed that those good men learned from the light 
of reason certain tales which were the idle inventions 
and ideas of philosophers? not to attack too harshly 
the religion of others. 


And why did not this reason also tell that they 
were mistaken in their worship, in foolishly worshipping 
statues and stones, as if they were the dwelling places 
of their Gods? But is it indeed to be supposed that 
since good women bestowed such worship on Francis, 
Ignatius and Dominicus and such men, reason teaches 
that at least some one among holy men should be wor- 
shipped? That they learn from the light of nature the 
worship of some superior power no longer visible? 
although, nevertheless, such are the fabrications of 
our priests of leisure for the more splendid increase of 
their own means of support. 

Therefore, there is no God? Suppose there is (a 
God.) Therefore, should he be worshipped? But 
this does not follow, because he desires worship as far 
as he has inscribed it in the heart. What more then? 
We should then follow the guide of our nature. But 
this is known to be imperfect. In what respects? For 
is it sufficient enough to maintain the society of men 
peacefully? Because other reHgious people, following 
revelation, do not pass more tranquil lives? 

But is it rather because God demands of us 
especially a more precise idea of God? But neverthe- 
less you who promise this of any religion whatsoever, 
do not supply it. For any revelation of what God is, 
is far more unintelHgible than before. And how will 
you make this clearer by the conception of the intellect, 
since he limits ever)'^ intellect? 

What do you think of these things ? 

No one, I say, has a knowledge of God, moreover 
eye has not seen him, and he dwells in unapproachable 
light, and from the time of revelation till now, in 
allegory. But I suppose every one knows how clear 
an allegory is. Wherefore do you indeed believe that 


God makes such demands ? or is it from the desire of 
the intellect to surmount the limitations of its own 
capacity in order to comprehend everything more per- 
fectly than it does, or from something else? Who of 
you is there who speaks from special revelation? Good 
God! what a hodge-podge of revelations. Do you 
point to the oracles of the heathen? Antiquity has 
already held them up to ridicule. To the testimony of 
your priests? I can show you priests who will contra- 
dict them. You may protest in your turn, but who will 
be the judge? Who will put an end to these disputes? 
Do you call attention to the writings of Moses, the 
Prophets and Apostles? I bring to your notice the 
Koran, which says that, according to a new revelation, 
these are corrupt and its author boasts of having settled 
by the sword the corruptions and altercations of Chris- 
tians as did Moses those of the heathen. For by the 
sword Mahomet and Moses subjugated Palestine, each 
instructed by great miracles. And the writings of the 
Sectarians as well as of the Vedas and the Brahmins 
1300 years back, are in opposition, to say nothing of 
the Sinenses.* You, who in some remote spot in 
Europe are disputing about such things disregard or 
deny these writings. You yourself should see very 
clearly that with equal ease they deny your writings. 
And what proofs not miraculous, would be sufficient to 
convince the inhabitants of the world, if it were evident 
from the first three books of Veda, that the world was 
contained in and came from an egg of a scorpion, and 
that the earth and first elements of things was placed 
on the head of a bull, if some envious son of the Gods 
had not stolen these first three volumes. In our times 
this would be laughed at ; and among those people 

*(?) Those holding sinecures. 


there would not be this strange argument to estabUsh 
their reHgion if it did not have its origin in the brains 
of these priests. 

And whence else came those many immense 
volumes concerning the gods of the pagans and those 
wagon loads of lies? Moses acted very wisely in first 
becoming skilled in the arts of the Egyptians, that is in 
the mastery of astrology and magic, and then by cruel 
war driving from their homes the petty kings of Pales- 
tine, and pretending a conference Hke that of Numa 
Pompilius. Leading his army, confident of their for- 
tunes, into the possessions of peaceful men ; in order 
that he, forsooth, might be a great general and his 
brother high priest, and that he himself might be a 
leader and dictator. But of what a people! Others 
by milder means and by pulling the wool over the eyes 
of the people under cover of profound sanctity (I am 
afraid to mention other things, ) and by the pious deceits 
of members of their sect in secret assemblies, first got 
control of the ignorant country people and then, 
because of the growing strength of the new religion, 
they got control of those who feared for themselves, 
and hated a leader of the people. At length another 
eager for war, by feigning miracles attached to himself 
the more ferocious people of Asia, who had suffered ill 
treatment at the hands of commanders of the Christians, 
and who, Kke Moses, with the promise of many victor- 
ies and favors, he subjugated the warring and peaceful 
leaders of Asia, and estabUshed his religion by the 
sword. The first is considered the reformer of the 
heathen, the second of Judaism and the third the 
reformer of both. It remains to be seen who will be 
the reformer of Mahomet and Mahometanism. Doubt- 
less then, the credulity of men is Hkely to be imposed 


on, and to take advantage of this under the pretense of 
some gain to be derived, is rightly called imposture. 

It would be too long and tedious to show more at 
length in this place, the nature and forms of what goes 
under the name of imposture, but we must observe, 
that, even if natural religion is granted and the worship 
of God is right as far as it is said to be commanded by 
nature ; that up to this time the leader of every new 
religion has been suspected of imposture, especially 
since it is evident to all and is obvious from what has 
been said or can be said, how many deceptions have 
been used in propagating any religion. 

It remains then unanswerable according to the 
previous argument, that religion and the worship of 
God according to the promptings of natural Hght, is 
consistent with truth and justice ; but if any one wishes 
to establish any new principles in religion, either new 
or displeasing, and that by the authority of invisible 
powers, it will evidently be necessary for him to show 
his power of reforming, unless he wishes to be con- 
sidered by all an impostor. Since, not under the con- 
clusions of natural religion, nor under the authority of 
special revelation, he offers opposition to the ideas of 
all. Moreover he should be so upright in life and 
character that the people may believe him worthy of 
being associated with so high and holy a power, who 
does not approve of anything impure . Nor can merely 
his own confession, nor the holiness of a past life, nor 
any miracles — that is extraordinary deeds — prove this ; 
for this is common rather among the skillful and the 
deceivers of men, lying hypocrites who pursue their 
own advantage and glory in this way. For it is not 
worth considering that some reached such a degree of 
madness that they voluntarily sought death, in order 


that it might be supposed that they despised and con- 
quered everything, Hke different ones among the ancient 
philosophers. Nor is it to be supposed that they were 
upheld by special divine powers in that which they did 
because of foolish fancies and fond hopes of moun- 
tains of gold, rising from a defective judgment. For 
they did not give the matter the proper considera- 
tion, nor did the real teachers, for in order that you 
may come to a fair decision about them, I have said 
not only is their own testimony not sufficient, but in 
order to reach the truth of the matter, they must be 
compared with one another ; and other witnesses with 
them, and then their acquaintances and friends, and 
then strangers, then friends and enemies ; and then 
after the testimony is all gathered in, that of each 
teacher concerning himself, and then that of others 
must be compared. And if we do not know the wit- 
nesses, we must consult the witnesses o/"the witnesses, 
and so on; besides instituting an investigation as to your 
powers of distinguishing from the true and the false 
involved in such or other circumstances. Especially in 
similar ones, inquiring, moreover, whence you desired 
data to learn the truth, for this purpose comparing the 
judgment of others, as to what they infer from such an 
investigation or from the testimony of witnesses. And 
from these data it will be permissible to infer whether 
he who makes this claim, is a true messenger of the 
revelation of divine will and whether his teachings 
should be gradually adopted. But at this point we 
must be very careful not to get into a circle. When- 
ever the nature of important religions may be such that 
one supplants another, as that of Moses, Paganism, 
that of Mahomet, Christianity, — the later one may not 
always nor in every particular cast aside the earUer, but 


only in certain parts, to such an extent that the latter is 
founded on the former, it will be necessary to investi- 
gate carefully not only either the last, or the middle, or 
the first, but all, especially since the charge of impost- 
ure is brought by every sect. So the ancients were 
charged with it by Christ, because they corrupted the 
law ; the Christians by Mahomet, because they cor- 
rupted the gospels, a fact not to be wondered at, inas- 
much as one sect of Christians charges the other with 
corrupting texts of the New Testament, so that it can 
[not] be ascertained whether he who is offered as an 
example is a teacher of a true religion or how far those 
who claim to have been given authority, should be 
listened to. For in an investigation no sect must be 
overlooked, but each must be compared with the rest 
without any prejudice. For if one is overlooked, that 
perhaps, is the very one which is nearer the truth. 
Thus, those who followed Moses, have followed the 
truth according to the Christians also, but they ought 
not to have paused at that point, but should examine 
the truth of the Christian religion also. 

Each sect maintains that its own teachers are the 
best and that it has had and is daily having proof of 
this, and that there are no better ones, so that either 
every one must believe it, which would be absurd, or 
no one, which is the safer plan, until the true way is 
known, though no sect should be disregarded in a com- 

There is no need of presenting the objection that 
it is known that all mathematicians agree that twice 
two is four. For it is not a similar case, since no one 
has been known to doubt whether twice two is four, 
while on the contrary religions agree neither in end, 
beginning nor middle. Suppose that I do not know 


the true way of salvation ; I follow, however, the 
Brahmins or the Koran. Will not Moses and the rest 
say : What wrong have we done you that you thus 
reject us, though we are better and nearer the truth? 
What reply shall we make ? I believed in Mahomet 
or the Gymnosophistes*, in whose teachings I was 
born and brought up, and from them I learned that 
your rehgion and that of the Christians which followed, 
have long since decayed and grown corrupt, and are 
still misleading. Will they not reply that they do not 
know anything about the others and that these do not 
know anything about the true guide to salvation, since 
they know that those who are corruptors of the people 
are impostors, feigning miracles, or by Hes pulling the 
wool over the eyes of the people. Nor should faith 
be thus simply given to one man or one sect, rejecting 
all others without a complete and proper investigation. 
For with equal right the Ethiopian, who has not left 
his own land, says that there are no men under the sun 
except those of a black color. 

Moreover, this precaution also should be taken in 
the investigation of other sects, that equal care should 
be used in an investigation of all, and while one is 
explained with great pains, the other should not be 
slighted, because one claim or another at first sight 

*A sect of East Indian philosophers who went about almost naked, 
ate no flesh, renounced all bodily pleasures, and simply contemplated 

The " Pre-Adamite doctrine," similar to the above, was published 
by Isaac de Peyrere about 1655. These fanatics believed that mankind lost 
none of their innocence by the fall of Adam. Both men and women made 
their appearance in the streets of Munster, France, in furis naturalibus, as 
did our first parents in the Garden of Eden, before the fruit incident, which 
brought so much trouble into the world. The magistrates failed to put 
them down, and the military had some difficulty in abolishing this ab- 
surdity.— A. N. 


seems to be wrong, or because of the evil reports of 
gossip concerning the leader of that sect, while other 
reports are cast aside. For that should not be set 
down as doctrine or indubitable testimony, which the 
first vagabond that comes along asserts about a hostile 
religion. Indeed, with equal right on account of com- 
mon gossip and the mere mention of a name, the 
Christian religion was to some an object of horror, and 
to others an object of scorn. With the latter because 
the Christians worshipped the head of an ass, and with 
the former because they ate and drank their God, so 
that at length the report became current that to be a 
Christian was to be a deadly enemy of God and men ; 
when, nevertheless, such tales were either things 
which had been misunderstood or skillfully told lies, 
which were then confirmed, and having some founda- 
tion, spread abroad because an enemy of that religion 
had absolutely no intercourse, or no proper intercourse, 
with the Christians themselves, or the more learned 
among them, but believed the first ignorant person or 
deserter or enemy of that religion. Such a method of 
investigation being decided upon, it would always be a 
matter of great diflSculty. What shall we say about 
women, what about children, what about the majority 
of the masses of the people.? All children will 
be excluded from a feeling of security in regard 
to their religion, and the majority of women to 
whom even those matters which have been most 
clearly explained by the leaders of any religion, as far 
as can be done, are obscure : also from their manner 
of life you rightly perceive that with the exception of 
a very few superior ones, they have no accurate powers 
of comprehending mysteries of such a character, to say 
nothing of the countless numbers of insignificant per- 


sons and country people for whom the question of their 
own support is the most important subject for the 
exercise of their powers of reason, while other matters 
they accept or reject in good faith. Doubtless there is 
only a very small part of the world, who weigh all 
religions, compare their own carefully with others and 
correctly distinguish true reasons from false, in details 
in which deception may creep in ; but the majority 
rather adopt the faith of others, of teachers of sacred 
matters especially, whose knowledge and powers of 
judgment in sacred matters are considered noteworthy. 

And so in any religion this is done, especially by 
those who can not read and write or do not have any- 
thing to read. But it should have been observed that 
iq this inatter it is not sufficient that the teachers of any 
religion should have the power, because of very exact 
powers of judgment and avowed experience, of dis- 
tinguishing the true from the false. Indeed it ought to 
be very certain to others, with powers of judgment no 
less exact, that those teachers have not only the ability 
to distinguish the true from the false, but the desire as 
well, and indeed we ought to be especially certain that 
he who professes such a knowledge and desire is neither 
deceived nor wishes to be. 

And what choice shall we make here among so 
many teachers so much at variance in even one emi- 
nent sect? For when we look at our comrades and 
associates, who disagree on many subjects, although 
they are most friendly in other respects, one of the two 
disputants will maintain his opinion on account of some 
defect, either because he has not a correct understand- 
ing of the matter, and lacks the power of judgment, or 
because he does not wish to give up, and so does not 
desire to confess the truth. But although it might be 


matters of secondary importance in which this happened, 
nevertheless the result will be that they will be mis- 
trusted in other matters also. Each doubtless is in 
possession of one truth, and he who gives this up in 
one place, either from a defect of judgment or a wrong 
desire is deservedly mistrusted of doing the same thing 
in other cases. 

Therefore, that you may judge of the ability and 
honesty of any teacher in rehgion, first, it is necessary 
for you to be just as able as he ; for otherwise he will 
be able to impose on you very easily, and, moreover, if 
he is unknown to you, he will need the testimony of 
others, and these again of others, and so on indefinitely; 
not only in regard to his truthfulness, that he really 
taught such doctrines, but in regard to his honesty, th^t 
he did this without deceit. And the same method 
must at once be employed in regard to the witnesses 
of his honesty and his teachings. But where will you 
place an end to this? It is not enough that such dis- 
cussions have already taken place among others ; you 
must consider how well this has been done. For the 
ordinary proofs which are set forth are neither conclu- 
sive nor manifest, and prove doubtful matters by others 
more doubtful, so that, like those who run in a circle, 
you return to the starting point. 

In order that it may be manifest whether any one 
is a teacher of a true religion or an impostor, there is 
need either of personal knowledge, which we can not 
have in the case of the three great founders of the 
religions of Judaism, Christianity and Mahometanism, 
inasmuch as they lived in far distant places and died 
long before our time ; or of the knowledge of others, 
which, if any one imparts it to you, we call testimony. 

Between these, there is still another way of know- 


ing any one, namely through his own writings, which 
may be called one's own testimony concerning himself. 
And concerning Christ, there is no such testimony ; 
concerning Moses, it is doubtful whether there is ; con- 
cerning Mahomet, there is the Koran. The testimony 
of others is of two classes — that of friends and that of 
enemies. Between these extremes there is no third 
class, according to the saying, "who is not with me is 
against me." Mahomet in his writings assumes and 
attributes to himself the same divine qualities as did 
Moses and another. Moreover the friends of Mahomet 
and members of his sect wrote the same things con- 
cerning him as did the members of the sects of the 
others concerning their masters, and the enemies of 
the others wrote just as disparagingly of them as their 
friends did of Mahomet. As for the rest, the testimony 
of any one concerning himself is too unreliable to in- 
spire implicit confidence, and is of no consequence 
except, perchance, to perplex a thoughtless hearer. 
The assertions of friends, who doubtless unanimously 
repeat the sayings of their masters, are of the same 
nature. Nor should the enemies of any one be heeded 
on account of their prejudices. But as it is, in spite of 
these facts, it is for such trivial reasons, which are con- 
firmed only by the master's own boasts, the assertions 
of friends, or the calumnies of enemies, that every 
follower of any one of the three assumes that the claims 
of his enemy are based wholly on imposture, while the 
teachings of his master are founded wholly on truth. 
Nevertheless Mahomet is undoubtedly considered an 
impostor among us ; but why.? Not from his own tes- 
timony or that of his friends but from that of his 
enemies. Then, on the contrary, among the Mahom- 
etans he is considered a most holy prophet; but why? 



From his own testimony, but especially from that of 
his friends. Whoever considers Moses an impostor or 
a holy teacher employs the same method of reasoning. 
And there is equal reason in the case of Mahomet as 
in the case of the others, either for charging him with 
imposture or for answering that charge, although, 
nevertheless, the former are considered holy, while he 
is considered a scoundrel, contrary to all the demands 
of justice. To put it in the scholastic manner, then, 
the following conclusions are most firmly established : 
Whenever there is the same reason as in the case of 
Mahomet for charging any person with imposture or 
for answering that charge, they should be placed in 
the same category. And for example, in the case of 
Moses, there is the same reason, therefore justice 
should be demanded just as in the case of Mahomet, 
nor should he be considered an impostor. 


(a. ) In regard to the rebuttal of the charge of 
imposture : this is based on the above-mentioned testi- 
mony not only of Mahomet concerning himself in his 
well-known writings, but on that of every one of his 
friends concerning their master, and hence, it logically 
follows : 

(I.) Whatever value the testimony of Moses' 
friends has in defending him on the charge of impos- 
ture, the testimony of Mahomet's friends ought to have 
the same value. And whatever the value of the 
acquittal, though their favorable testimony, etc., etc. 
Therefore, etc. 

(II.) And whatever value the books of Moses 
have for this purpose, the same value the Koran has 
also. And so, etc. Therefore, etc. 


Moreover, the Mussulmen, from the very books of 
the New Testament (although according to these very 
persons, these books have been much corrupted in 
other respects, ) draw various arguments even in sup- 
port of their Mahomet, and especially that prediction of 
Christ concerning the future Paraclete.* They main- 
tain that he came and exposed the corruption of 
the Christians, and established a new covenant. And 
although at other times the Koran is charged with 
many silly, nay impious tales, all these nevertheless, 
can be explained in a spiritual sense or smoothed 
over in other ways, since the rest of the teachings insist 
on nothing but extreme sanctity and a stringent mode 
of morals, but especially on temperance and abstinence 
from wine. And to the objection frequently raised 
that wine is the gift of God, the reply can be made that 
so also are poisons, and yet we are not supposed to drink 
them. The further objection often made that the spirit 
of the Koran is too carnal, and fills eternal life with 
pleasures of the world and the flesh, polygamy more- 
over being so indiscriminately permitted, it is not of 
such weight that it can not be confuted, since Moses 
also permitted polygamy and in the New Testament life 
eternal admits of banquets, e. g., you will sit down 
with Abraham and Isaac, etc., etc. Again, I shall not 
taste wine except in the Kingdom of my Father. It is 
said that all those pleasures mentioned in the Song of 
Solomon, which is, of course, also instanced, are not 
wrong, and when explained in a spiritual sense imply 
no wrong, although the same thing is not said of the 
Koran. And if we are too severely critical of the words 
of the Koran, we ought to employ the same severity of 
criticism against the writings of Moses and others. 

*An Intercessor, affiled to the Holy Spirit. 



Moreover the arguments which are offered from Moses 
himself in answer to the charge of imposture, do not 
seem reasonable nor of suflScient weight. 

(I. ) Our knowledge of the intercourse Moses had 
with God depends on his own testimony and that of his 
friends, and hence such evidence can have no more 
weight than similar arguments of the Mussulmen con- 
cerning the conference that Mahomet had with Gabriel ; 
and what is more, this intercourse of Moses, according 
to Moses himself (if all those sayings are Moses', which 
are commonly attributed to him) is open to the sus- 
picion of imposture, as is to be shown below. 

(II.) No one indeed who is acquainted with the 
many very grave crimes of Moses, will be able to say 
easily or at least justly, that his holiness of life can not 
easily be matched. His crimes then are the following : 

(a.) Fraud, which none but his friends have pal- 
liated, but they are not impartial judges of the matter ; 
nor does that commendatory passage of Luke in the 
Acts of the Apostles form any apology, for there is 
dispute as to the honesty and veracity of that witness. 

(b.) The stirring up of rebellion; for it can not 
be proved that this was due to a command of God, 
nay, the contrary Js clear, since elsewhere Moses is 
urged to forbid resistance to tyrants. 

(c.) Wars, although murder is contrary to the 
V. and VII. (.?VI.)* commandments of Moses him- 
self, unrestrained plunder, etc., etc.; just as the high 
priest in India, or Mahomet in his land, offering the 
command of God as a pretext, drove from their terri- 
tory the former possessors. Moses slew thousands and 
gave them over to slaughter in order to insure salva- 
tion to himself and his people. 

♦Average seems to indicate the VI. Commandment. — A. N. 


(d.) The teaching concerning the taking of the 
property of others under the pretense of a loan. 

(e.) The prayer to God in which Moses desired 
to die eternally for his people, although this petition 
asked of God such things as would destroy his essence. 
See Exodus xxxii, 31, 32.* 

(f. ) Neglect of the commands of God in regard 
to circumcision (Exodus iv, 24, 25, 26, )f and finally, 

(g.) The chief of Moses' crimes, the extreme 
and stupid incredulity of one who was chosen to per- 
form so many miracles by the power of God, and who 
nevertheless on account of his wavering faith was 
censured by God himself severely and with the threat 
of punishment. (Numbers xx, 12), J 

As to 

(b.) The proof of the other argument, namely, 
the charge of imposture, it can be said : We believe 
that Mahomet was an impostor, not from our personal 
knowledge, as was pointed out above, but from the 
testimony, not of his friends, but of his enemies. But 
all such are anti-Mahometans, according to the saying 
"Who is not with me is against me," etc., etc.: 
hence follows the conclusion : Whatever weight the 
testimony of enemies has in the case of one, that it 

*Exodus xxxii, 31, 32. And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, 
Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 

Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin, and if not, blot me, I pray 
thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 

■[Exodus iv, 24, 25, 26. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut 
off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his ( ?the Lord's) feet, and said. 
Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 

So he (the Lord) let him (Moses) go: then she said, a bloody 
husband thou art, because of the circumcision. 

XNumhers xx, 12. And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, 
because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of 
Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I 
have given them. 


ought to have m the case of the other also. Otherwise 
we shall be unjust in condemning one from the testi- 
mony of enemies and not the other ; if this were done, 
all justice would be at an end. 

And in the case of Mahomet, the testimony of 
enemies has such weight, that he is considered an 
Impostor, therefore, etc., etc. 

Furthermore, I say that reasons for suspecting 
Moses of imposture can be elicited not only from 
external, but from internal evidence, whereby impos- 
ture can be proved by his own testimony as well as by 
that of others, albeit, his followers, although there is 
still dispute. 

(I.) Whether the books, which are said to be 
those of Moses, are his or (II.) those of compilers, 
(III. ) or those of Esdras, especially, and (IV.) whether 
they were written in the Samaritan, or (V.) the real 
Hebrew language; and (VI.) if the latter, whether 
we can understand that language. All these matters 
are doubtful for many reasons, and especially it can be 
shown from the first chapters of Genesis that we can 
not correctly interpret that language. I confess I am 
unwilling to concern myself with these points, but I 
wish to discuss the man. 

I. From Moses' own testimony and indeed 

(a.) concerning his life and character which we 
have considered above, and which, if any blame is 
attached to Mahomet on account of the fierce wars he 
waged, especially against the innocent, is equally blam- 
able, and in other respects does not seem at all different 
from Mahomet's. 

(b.) Concerning the authority of his own teach- 
ing. And here applies what was said above about 
Moses' intercourse with God, which Moses indeed 


boasted of but evidently with too great exaggeration. 
For if any one boasts of intercourse with God of an 
impossible nature, his intercourse is properly doubted 
and Moses, etc. Therefore, etc. It is proved because 
he boasts of having seen that of which in the Old and 
in the New Testament afterward, it is very often said 
that no eye has seen (namely) God face to face. Ex- 
odus xxxii. II. Numbers xii. 8.* Thus he saw God 

( 1 ) in his own form, not in a vision nor in a dream (2), 
but face to face as friend to friend when he spoke 
directly to him. But any vision, which ( i ) is Hke that 
of friends speaking face to face, directly to one another, 

(2) like that of the blessed in the other life, is properly 
called and considered a vision of God. And Moses, etc. 
Therefore, etc. The Minor premise is proved from 
the passages previously cited and from the words of 
the Apostle : then indeed face to face, etc., and there 
is the same argument in the passages of Moses and in 
that of the Apostle. And yet among Christians the 
belief is most firmly established that no unjust person 
can see God in this life. And in the above passage of 
Exodus xxxiii. 2o,f it is expressly added : you will not 
be able to see my face. These words God addressed 
to Moses and they are in direct contradiction to the 
passages previously cited, so that these claims can be 
explained in no other way than by saying that they were 
added by a thoughtless compiler, but by so doing the 
whole is rendered doubtful. 

*Exodus xxxii. 11. And Moses besought the Lord his God, and 
said, Lord why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou 
hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a 
mighty hand ? 

Numbers xii. 8. With him (Moses) will I speak mouth to mouth, 
even apparent and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord 
shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my 
servant Moses? 

iExodus xxxiii. 20. Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep 
thee in the way, and to bring thee in the place which I have prepared. 


(c.) Concerning the teachings of Moses, which 
relate either to the laws or the gospel. Among the 
laws, all of which for the sake of brevity I can not 
now consider, the decalogue is most important, being 
called the special work of God and said to have been 
written on Mount Horeb. But it is evident it was 
devised by Moses before it was written by God, be- 
cause these commands are not in themselves character- 
ized by the perfection of God, since ( i ) they are either 
superfluous, namely the last three, arguing from the 
words of Christ in Math, v,* undoubtedly relating to 
the former, while the IX should not be separated from 
the X, and they will likewise be superfluous (2) or 
they are defective. For where are these command- 
ments : thou shalt not desire to have other Gods, nor 
desire to curse God, nor desire to desecrate the Sab- 
bath, nor to injure thy parents, and similar ones.? And 
is it to be presumed that God would forbid the lesser 
sins of coveting a neighbor's house, land and property 
especially, and in an order so extraordinary, and not 
the greater.? As to the teaching of Moses concerning 
the gospel, he establishes a very foolish and untrust- 
worthy sign of the future great prophet, or Christ. 
Deut. xviii, 21, 22, f since this sign makes faith impos- 
sible for a long time . From this dictum it follows that 
Christ, having predicted the fall of Jerusalem, ought 
not to have been considered a true prophet while that 
prophecy was as yet unfulfilled (nor should Daniel, 

* Matthew V . Sermon on the Mount, 17. Think not that I am come 
to destroy the law, etc. Matt, x, 2? names Apostles. 

'^Deuteronomy »viii, Zl, Z2. And if thou say in thine heart, How 
shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken ? 

When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing 
follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not 
spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously : thou shalt not be 
afraid of him. 



until his prophecy had been fulfilled), and so those 
who lived in the interval between the time of Christ 
and the overthrow of Judea, can not be blamed for not 
beheving in him, although Paul hurled anathemas at 
those who did not attach themselves to Christ before 
the fall. 

Whatever sign, then, permits people for a long 
time to believe what they please with impunity, can not 
proceed from God, but is justly subject to suspicion. 
And this sign was given, etc., therefore, etc. 

What is said concerning the fulfillment of other 
prophecies is no objection. For it is the special and 
genuine sign of that great prophet, that his predictions 
are fulfilled. Wherefore, naturally, previous to this 
fulfillment he could not have been considered such a 

The other absurd conclusion which evidently 
follows from this passage, is this : that although this 
sign ought to have been the proof of the divine inspira- 
tion of all prophets, in the case of certain prophets who 
made predictions, indefinite indeed, but in words not 
admitting a moral interpretation (such as soon, swiftly, 
near, etc.,) that sign can by no means be found, e. g. 
Many predict the last day of the world and Peter said 
that that day was at hand ; therefore, so far, until 
it comes it will be impossible to consider him a true 

For such is the express requirement Moses makes 
in the passage cited. 

(d.) Concerning the histories of Moses. But if 
the Koran is charged with containing many fables, 
doubtless in Genesis there are many stories to arouse 
the suspicions of the thoughtful reader : as the creation 
of man from the dust of the earth, the inspiration of 


the breath of life, the creation of Eve from the rib of 
the man, serpents speaking and seducing human beings, 
who were very vdse and well aware that the serpent 
was possessed by the father of lies, the eating of an 
apple which was to bring punishment upon the whole 
world, which would make finite one of the attributes of 
God, namely his clemency (the attributes of God being 
identical with his essence), as the redemption of the 
fallen would make finite the wrath of God, and so God 
himself : for the wrath of God is God himself ; men 
eight or nine hundred years old ; the passage of the 
animals into the ark of Noah, the tower of Babel, the 
confusion of tongues, etc., etc. These and a thousand 
other stories can not fail to impress the investigating 
freethinker as being similar to the fables, especially of 
the Rabbins since the Jewish race is very much addicted 
to the use of fables ; nor at all inconsistent with other 
works, to mention those of Ovid, the Vedas, those of 
the Sinenses and the Brahmins of India, who tell that 
a beautiful daughter born from an egg bore the world, 
and similar absurdities. But Moses especially seems 
to arrest our attention because he represents God as 
contradicting himself, namely, saying that all things 
were good and yet that it was not good for Adam to 
be alone. Whence it follows that there was something 
apart from Adam that was not good and so could injure 
the good condition of Adam, while, nevertheless, the 
solitude of Adam itself was the work of God, since he 
had created goodness not only of the essences but also 
of the qualities. 

For all things were good in that quality in which 
God had created them. I adduce as proof : It is 
impossible for any work created by God not to be 
good. And the solitude of Adam, etc., etc. There- 
fore, etc. 


Whoever enters upon the study of the genealogies 
of the Old Testament finds many difficulties in Moses. 
I shall not now cite all, contenting myself with merely 
this one example, since Paul, I. Tim. i., 4,* has taught 
that genealogies are useless, and the study of them 
unprofitable, nay, to be avoided. Of what use were so 
many separate, nay, so oft times repeated, genealogies ? 
And there is a remarkable example to arouse suspicion 
at least of the corruption of the text or of the careless- 
ness of compilers, in the case of the wives of Esau and 
the different things said of them. 


**Genesis xxvi, 34: 

Judith, daughter of Berit, the Hittite . 
Basnath, daughter of Elon, the Hittite. 
Genesis xxviii, 9: 

Mahalaad, daughter of Ishmael, sister of Naba- 
joth, who is mentioned after the two former. 
Genesis xxxvi, 2: 

Ada, daughter of Elon, the Hittite. 
Akalibama, C.I. 

Basnath, daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nabajoth. 

The one who is called Ada in Genesis xxxvi, is 

called Basnath in Gen. xxvi, namely, the daughter of 

*Paul to Timothy (I.) I. 4- Neither give heed to fables and endless 
genealogies, etc. 

**Genesis xxvi, 34, 35. And Esau was forty years old when he took 
to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri, the Hittite, and Bashemath the 
daughter of Elon, the Hittite, which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and 

Genesis xxviii, 9. Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the 
-wives -which he had, Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, 
the sister of Nabajoth, to be his wife. 

Genesis xxxvi, $, S. Esau took his wives of the daughters of 
Canaan, Adah, the daughter of Elon, the Hittite, and Aholibamah, the 
daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon, the Hivite, and Bashemath, 
Xshmael's daughter, sister of Nabajoth. 


Elon,the Hittite, and the one who is called Basnath in 
Gen. xxxvi, is called Mahalaad in Gen. xxviii, namely, 
the sister of Nabajoth, although, nevertheless, Ma- 
halaad, in the passage cited in Gen. xxviii, is said to 
have been married after Judith and Basnath, previously 
mentioned in Gen. xxvi. 

I do not yet see how these names are to be recon- 
ciled. And these and similar passages increase the 
suspicion that the writings of Moses which we have, 
have been put together by compilers and that errors in 
writing have crept in at some time. 

Finally the most conclusive argumient against the 
authenticity of Moses is the excessive tautology and 
useless repetition, with always the same amount of dif- 
ference, as if different passages had been collected from 
different authors. 

(II.) To prove that Moses is subject to suspicion 
from the testimony, not of his enemies only, but from 
that of those who openly professed to be his followers 
and disciples. And this testimony is 

(g.) Of Peter, Acts xv. lo,* calling the yoke of 
Moses insupportable : and hence either God must be a 
tyrant, which would be inconsistent with his nature, or 
Peter speaks falsely, or the laws of Moses are not divine. 

(h.) Of Paul always speaking slightingly of the 
laws of Moses, which he would not do if he considered 
them divine. Thus Gal. iv.** he calls them 

(a.) Bondage v. 3, 4, but who would have so 
called the laws of God. 

*Acts XV. 10. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon 
the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear ? 

**Galatians 3, 4. Even so we when we were children, were in bond- 
age under the elements of the world: but when the fulness of the time was 
come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. 

V. 9. But now after that ye have known God, or rather are known 



(b.) Beggarly commands v. 9.** 

(c.) V. 30,** he writes : Cast out the bondwoman 
and her son. Hagar, the bondwoman, is the covenant 
of Mount Sinai, which is the law of Moses according 
to V. 24.** But who would tolerate the saying, cast 
out the law of God and its children, and followers, al- 
though Paul himself, as he asserts here and in the fol- 
lowing chapter Gal. iv. 2, 3,** does not permit Tim- 
othy to be circumcised. Act xvi.* 

(d.) He calls the law a dead letter, and what else 
does he not call it? II. Cor. iii., 6-10** and following. 

of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto 
ye desire again to be in bondage. 

V. 30. Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? cast out the bond- 
woman and her son: for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with 
the son of the free-woman. 

V. 24. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two cove- 
nants; the one from the mount of Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, 
which is Agar. 

Galatians v. 3, 3. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circum- 
cised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man 
that is circumcised, that is a debtor to do the whole law. 

*Acts xvi, I, 2, 3. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra, and behold, a 
certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman 
which was a Jewess, and believed, but his father was a Greek; which was 
well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him 
would Paul have to go forth with him, and took and circumcised him, 
because of the Jews which were in those quarters, for they knew all that 
his father was a Greek. 

**II. Cor. iii., 6-10. Who also hath made us able ministers of the 
New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, 
but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and 
engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not 
steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; 
which glory was to be done away : How shall not the ministration of the 
spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be 
glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 
For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by 
reason of the glory that excelleth. 

II. Cor. V. 10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of 
Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according 
to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 


Likewise he did not consider its glory worth consider- 
ing, c. v., ID. Who would say such things of the 
most holy law of God? If it is just as divine as the 
gospel it ought to have equal glory, etc., etc. 

The testimony of those who are outside of the 
Jewish or Christian church, is etc., etc. 



In the library of Cornell University, at Ithaca, 
N. Y., is a large collection of Spinoza manuscripts and 
printed books by the same author. The collection was 
left to the library, and is known as the "Strauss 
Collection." In the collection is a manuscript copy of 
"Z« vie et P esprit de M. Benoit de Spinosa,''^ which 
includes " Le traite des trois hnposteurs.'''' 

This particular manuscript is much longer than any 
of the printed editions of Traits des Trois Imposteurs, 
and includes several more chapters than another manu- 
script which is in same library. 

The printed editions usually contain six chapters, 
although the edition a Philadelphie, 1796, alluded to 
on pages 18-19, contains nine chapters. None of the 
printed editions that I have seen contains a chapter 
entitled Numa Pompilius. 

The manuscript in Cornell library has six additional 
chapters more than our manuscript, 17 16, which chap- 
ters are entitled : I. Religions. 2. Of the Diversity 
of Religions. 3. Divisions of Christians. 4. The 
Superstitious, — of the superstition and credulity of 
the people. 5. Of the Origin 0/ Monarchies. 6. Of 
Legislators and Politicians, and how they serve them- 
selves -with Religion. 

These chapters being but an elaboration of the 
matters and ideas contained in our English translation. 
—A. N. 



P. 8, paragraph 3, '■'■ Atheismus Triwmphatus.'''' 
Atheism destroyed. 

P. 10, paragraph i, " Perini del Vago, Equitis de 
Malta, Epistolium ad Batavum in Brittania hospit- 
eiii de tribus Impostoribus,'''' (3 Greek words omitted). 
Epistle to Batavus, a friend in Britain, about the Three 
Impostors (the Pamphleteers, Sycophants and so-called 

P. 12, line 2, ^^Ridiculum et imposturae in omni 
hominum religione, scriptio paradoxa, quatn ex auto- 
grapho gallico Victoris Aniadeo Veriniontii ob sum- 
mam rei dig7iitatem in latimim sermoneni transtulit.'''' 
What is ridiculous, and the impostures in every religion 
of mankind, a strange writing, which he translated into 
Latin from the original French of Victor Amadeus 
Verimontius, on account of the great worth of the 
subject matter. 

P. 12, line 9, '■^^iiaedam deficiunt s . fragmentum 
de libro de tribus impostoribus.'''' Certain things are 
missing. His fragment of the book about the three 

P. 12, line 12, '■'■De imposUiris religionuni breve. 
Compendium descriptuni ab exemplari maniiscripto 
quod in bibliotheca J. Fred. Mayeri, Berolini, pub- 
lice distracta deprehensum et a Principe Eugenio de 
Sabaudio, 80 Imperialibus redemtuni fuit.'''' An ab- 
stract about the impostures of religions. An abridg- 
ment copied from the original manuscript which, at the 
dispersal of the library of J. Fred. Mayer of Berlin, was 
discovered and repurchased by Prince Eugene de 
Sabaudio for 80 imperials. 


P. 12, line 18, " Communes namque demonstra- 
tiones, quae publicantur, nee certae, nee evidentes, 
sunt, et res dubias per alias saepe magias dubias 
probant, adeo ut exemplo eorum, qui eireulum cur- 
runt, ad terminum semper redeant, a quo eurrere 
ineeperant. Finis. '''' For the ordinary arguments 
which are set forth, are not established, nor are they 
evident, and prove doubtful matters by others often 
much more doubtful, just like those who run in a 
circle, and always return to the starting point. End. 

P. 12, last 7 lines, '■'■ ^uainvis omnium homineni 
intersit nosse veritatem, rari tamen boni illi qui earn 
norunt,'''' etc.'''' Although it is to the interest of all 
men to know the truth, nevertheless those few good 
men who know it, etc. 

"o^?/2 veritates amantes sunt, multum solatii inde 
eapient, et hi stmt, quibus placere gestimus, nil cur- 
antes mancipia, quae prejudieia oraculorum — infal- 
libilium loco venerantur.'''' Those who are lovers of 
the truth will derive much comfort from this, and those 
are the ones whom we are anxious to please, not caring 
for those servile persons who reverence prejudices as 
infallible oracles. 

P. 13, paragraph 7, '•'■ De impostura religionum 
compendium s. liber de tribiis impostoribns.^^ Treatise 
about the imposture of religions. His book about the 
three impostors. 

P. 15, paragraph 2, ^^ Homo sum, nihil humania 
me alienum puto.''^ I am a man, I consider nothing 
human alien to me. 

Page 29, 4th paragraph. Latin orthography cor- 
rected : 

'"'' ^uod de tribus famosissimis Nationum Decep- 
toribus in ordinem. Jussu. nieo digessit Doctissimus 
ille vir, quoewm Sermonem de ilia re in Museo meo 


habuisti exscribi curavi atque codicem ilium stilo 
aeque, vero ac puro scriptum ad te ut primufn mitto, 
eteniin ipsiiis perlegendi te accipio cupidissimuni.'''' 

This treatise about the three most famous impos- 
tors of the world, in accordance with my instructions 
was put in order by that scholar with whom you had 
the conversation concerning that matter in my library, 
I had it copied, and that MS. written in a style equally 
genuine and simple. I send you as soon as possible, 
for I am sure you are very eager to read it. 

P. 29-30, last paragraph, (Latin orthography cor- 
rected), " /. liber de Nat. Deor. ^ui Deos esse 
dixerunt tanta sunt in Varietate et dissentione con- 
stituti tit eorum molest uni sit dinumerare sententias . 
Alterum fieri profecto potest ut eorum nulla, alterum 
certe non potest ut plus unuiii vera fit. Sumnii quos 
in Republica obtinuerat honores orator ille Romanus, 
eaque quam servare f amain Studiote curabat, in causa 
fuere quod in Condone Deos non ausus sit negare 
quamquam in contesta Philosophorum, etc.^'' 

I. Book about the nature of the Gods. "Those 
who have said that there are Gods, are characterized 
by such a variety of ideas and difference of belief, that 
it would be difficult to enumerate their opinions. 

On the one hand it might indeed happen that not 
one of their opinions was true, but on the other hand, 
certainly not more than one can be true." The great 
honors which that famous Roman orator had gained in 
the state, and that reputation, which he took the most 
zealous care to maintain, were the reason why in a 
pubhc speech he dared not deny the Gods, although in 
a discussion of philosophers, etc. 

P. 35, last paragraph, " De poteste Imperiali,^^ 
— Of the Imperial power. 

P. 144, TANTUM— So Far. 


Did you ever attend a meeting of the society for 
the — perhaps I had better not mention the name of the 
society, lest I tread on your favorite Quixotism. Suf- 
fice it to say that it has a noble purpose. It aims at 
nothing less than the complete transformation of human 
society, by the use of means which, to say the least, 
seem quite inadequate. After the minutes of the last 
meeting have been read, and the objects of the society 
have been once more stated with much detail, there is 
an opportunity for discussion from the floor. 

"Perhaps there is some one who may give some 
new suggestions, or who may desire to ask a question." 

You have observed what happens to the unfortunate 
questioner. What a sorry exhibition he makes of him- 
self ! No sooner does he open his mouth than every 
one recognizes his intellectual feebleness. He seems 
unable to grasp the simplest ideas. He stumbles at the 
first premise, and lies sprawling at the very threshold 
of the argument. 

" If what I have taken for granted be true," says 
the chairman, "do not all the fine things I have been 
telling you about follow necessarily?" 

"But," murmurs the questioner, "the things you 
take for granted are just what trouble me. They don't 
correspond to my experience." 

"Poor, feeble minded questioner!" cry the mem- 
bers of the society, " to think that he is not able to take 
things for granted ! And then to set up his experience 
against our constitution and by-laws !" 

The Gentle Reader — Quixotism — Samuel M. 
Cr others. 



Introduction, 3 

Bibliography 7 

Dissertation 26 

Letter of Frederic the Emperor, to Otho, the Illustrious 37 


God, of 38 

(Originally Sees. 1-6, later, Chap. I.) 
Reasons which have caused mankind to create for them- 
selves an Invisible Being vs^hich has been commonly 

called God- 44 

(Originally Sees. 1-9 and x-xi, later Chap. II.) 

God, what is ^2 

(Originally Sees, x-xi, later. Sees. 1-2, Chap. III.) 
Religions, what the word signifies, and how and why such 

a great number have been introduced in the world, 56 
(Originally Sees, i-xxiii, later, Sees. 1-8, Chap. IV.) 

Moses, of 62 

(Originally Sees, ix-x, later. Sees. 1-2, Chap. V.) 

NuMA PoMPiLius, of _ 71 

(Originally Sees, xi, later. Chap. VI.) 

Jesus Christ, of 72 

(Originally Sees, xii, later. Chap. VII.) 

Jesus Christ, of the Policy of 75 

(Originally Sees, xiii-xvi, later, Sees. 1-6, Chap. VIII.) 

Jesus Christ, of the Morals of.- 80 

(Uriginally Sees, xvii-xviii, later, Sees. 1-3, Chap. IX.) 

Jesus Christ, of the Divinity of 84 

(Originally Sees, xix-xxi, later. Sees. 1-3, Chap. X.) 



Mahomet. 88 

(Originally Sees, xxii-xxiii, later, Sees. 1-3, Chap. XI.) 

Truths, sensible and obvious 93 

(Original Sees, i-vi.) 

Soul, of the 96 

(Original Seca. i-vii.) 

Demons, of Spirits called _ loi 

(Original Sees, i-vii.) 

Appendicitis 107 

Mahomet, Edition " En Suisse," 1793 107 

De Tribus Impostoribus, Edition MDIIC iii 

(A literal translation of Latin reprint by E. Weller, 1876.) 

Cornell University 145 

Translations of Latin in the Text 146 

The Gentle Reader — Quixotism 149 


P. 5, 3d paragraph, ist line, Werner should read Weller. 
P. 12, line 5, sermonen should read sermonem. 

Original Mss., A. D. 1716, Contains — 

Dissertation, pp. 26-36, 3300 words Freneh. 
Treatise, pp. 37-101, 19800 " French. 

Total, 23100 words. 
Weller's reprint, 1876, Edition, 1598 contains 5800 words 



Aaron 66-135 

Abelaka 89 

Abdallah 89 

Abdo-Imutalib 89 

Abdul-Motallab __ 89 

Abraham 113-114-133-141 

Ada (h) 141 

Adam 81-127-140 

Adrian IV 32 

Agar_. 143 

Anah 141 

Aesclesiade 98 

Ahab 42 

Aholibamah 141 

Akalibamah 141 

Alberti 10 

Alexander 108 

Alexander III 33-34 

Alexis 120 

Amina 89 

Anal-Schirwan 88 

Anastasius IV 32 

Andronicus 10 

Anti-Christ 78 

Apelles 52 

Apollo 71 

Aristotle 26-77-97 

Arius 88 

Arpe 10-16-25 

Arretin 8 

Asia 123 

Assyrians 68 

Athens 120 

Augustin, St 80-81 

Avervoes 8-26-35 

Barbier 16 

Barnard 8 

Bashemath 141 

Basnath 141-142 


Baucis 81 

Becket 33 

Beeri 141 

Beni-Saad 89 

Berit 141 

Bernier 9-28 

Beverland 10 

Bocala 26 

Boccaccio 9 

Bona Spes 11 

Boniface VIII -- 87 

Boulainvilliers 108 

Brahmins 122-140 

Brakespeare 32 

Brand 8 

Brunet 13 

Bruno 9 

Busiris 64 

Calixtus III 33 

Calvin 27 

Campanella 7"9"27 

Carlyle 34 

Celestin 53 

Celestin III 33 

Celsus 72-81 

Cesar 58-75-108-118 

Chananias 54 

Charron 79 

Christ-Anti 78 

Christ Jesus 9-19-21-22 

82-83-84-85-86-87-88- 90 - 93 - 103 

Cherbourg 28 

Cherintus 78 

Cicero 29-118 

Cigala 9 

Clement III 33 

Constantine the Great 53 




Corais 90-108 

Corinthians 143 

Cornell 14S 

Cosmopoli Bey 10 

Crevanna 7 

Crothers 149 

Cyrile, St 81 

Daelli 14 

Damase I 53 

Danae 71 

Daniel 42-81-138 

De Bure 13 

Democritus 99 

Descartes 10 

Deuteronomy 138 

Diana 120 

Dicearchus 98 

Diogenes 98 

D'Israeli 13 

Dolet (it) 9-27 

Dominicus 121 

Dryden 16 

Ebert 7 

Ebion 78 

Ecclesiastes 54 

Egeria 71 

Egyptians 123 

Elbertus, Fra 45 

Elijah 70-81 

Elon 141-142 

Empedocles 70-99 

Epaphroditus 82-83 

Epictetus 82 

Epicurus 82-99 

Erasmus 9 

Ernst 8 

Esau 141 

Esculapius 98 

Esdras 136 

Ethiopian 127 

Eugene de Sabaudio 12 

Europe 122 

Eve 81-140 

Evelyn 9 

Exodus 135-137 

Ezekiel 42-54 

Fatima 89 


Fauns ._.I20 

Ferney, de 23 

Fischer 10 

Foh 7' 

Fortune 60 

FraElbertus 45 

Francis 121 

Franklin 22 

Frecht 28-29-30-31 

Fredericus 33 

Frederick 24 

Frederick Barbarossa 32-34 

Frederick the Great 34 

Frederick II. of Prussia 34 

Frederick I 32-33 

Frederick II- -3-8-32-33-34-35-36-37 

Freudenthal 10 

Furies . 60 

Gabriel 88-134 

Galatians 142-143 

Galen 98 

Gassendi 9 

Gastardi 28 

Genesis 109-136-139-141-142 

Genghis Khan 71 

Genthe 13 

Giessen 13 

Golius 88 

Gottsched 12 

Gratian 53 

Gregory VIII 33 

Gregory IX --3-33-34 

Gymnosophistes 127 

Hagar — 143 

Halima. 89 

Hannibal 58 

Harpocrates 5 

Hartman 73 

Hashem 89 

Haydn 3-32 

Henninger in 

Henry IV-- 34 

Henry, the Lion 32-33 

Henry VI 32-34 

Herbert- 10 

Hercules 81 

Hesiod 81-102 




Hippocrates 99 

Hippolitus 8i 

Hittites 141 -142 

Hivites 141 

Hobab 68 

Hobbes 10-28-57-58-60-61 

Hohendorf 106 

Homer 81-86 

Honorius III 3-33-34 

Hutcheson 5 

Ibrahim 89 

Ignatius 121 

Innocent III 33-34 

Innocent IV 33 

Iphigenia 81 

Isaac 81-141 

Ishmael 141 

Israel 113- 133 

Israeli, D' 13 

Jacob 109 

Jehoshua 72-73 

Jephthali. 81 

Jeremiah 42 

Jerome, St 82 

Jesus — see Christ. 

Jethro 66 

J. L. R. L 16-24-25 

Joel 42 

John, King of England 33 

John, St 75-76-78-80-85 

Joly — - — 8 

Jonah 8i 

Joseph 81 

Joshua 113 

Jovian 82 

Judaism 123-130 

Judith 141- 142 

Julian 86 

Jupiter 71-81 

Justin-Martyr 63 

Kasim 89 

Kay 5 

Knights, Teutonic 3 

Koreish 89 

Kortholt 10-28 

Krieger 13 

Leda 73 


Leger, Abb^ de St 13 

Leo I 53 

Leo X 78-79 

Leucippus 99 

Levites 76 

Ligonius .._ 35 

Livy 71 

Lot 81 

Louckers 10 

Louis I- 32 

Lucas 10 

Lucas lo-ii 

Lucifer 81 

Lucius III 33 

Luke, St 81-82-85-134 

Lycaon 81 

Macchiavelli 9 

Mahalaad 141-142 

Mahalath 141 

Mahomed Bei 9 

Mahomet 9-19-21-62-74 

86-87-88-89-91-93 - 107 - 108 

Mahomet Mustapha 88 

Marchand 11 

Maresius 9 

Martian 53 

Mary 66-73 

Masch_ 12 

Matthew, St. 78-138 

Maupeou 22 

Mayeri 12 

Medes 68 

Memnon 64 

Mercier 18 

Merula 9 

Messiah 77-78 

Meyer 10 

Micah 42 

Miller 18 

Milton 9 

Mogul, the Great n6 

Mohammed — see Mahomet. 

Monnoye, de la 10-16-23 

Montrose 5 

Morinus 9 




Moses 9-19-20-41-42 

90-93-103-107-113-114 - 122 - 123 
125-126 - 127 - 131 - 132 - 133 - 134 


Mosheim 8 

Mueller 8 

Muret 9 

Muses 60 

Myles 15 

Nabajoth 141-142 

Nachtegal 8 

Nasier, Alcofribas i 

Nebuchadnezzar 81 

Nero 82 

Neure (C) 9-28 

Noah 140 

Numa Pompilius 71-84-92 


Numbers 13S-137 

Ochini 9-27 

Oettinger 10 

Omokeltum 89 

Origen 72-81 

Oronata 3 

Otho __ 32 

Otho, of Bavaria 24 

Otho, the Great 32 

Otho, the Illustrious 32-33-37 

Othoni 29-32 

Ottoman (o) 9 

Ovid 140 

Pan 120 

Pandira 72-73 

Pandora 81 

Panurge 28 

Panurgius 9 

Paraclete 133 

Pascal III 33 

Patriarch of Jerusalem 33 

Paul, St 23-42-78 


Perdiccas 86 

Periphlegeton 81 

Perseus 71 

Peter, St 139-142 

Peyrere, Isaac de 127 


Phaedon 80 

Phaeton 81 

Pharisees 73-76 

Pharaoh 66-70 

Pharaoh, Memnon II 63 

Pharaoh, Orus I 63 

Pharaoh, Orus II 64 

Philemon 81 

Philomneste, Jr 14 

Phormion 58 

Pitt 22 

Pius VI 21 

Plato ___7i-8o-8i-96 

Poggio 9-27 

Pompilius, Numa 71-84-92 

Pomponatius 8 

Pomponiac 27 

Postel 8-27 

Paula, Fra 24 

Praxias 52 

Priapus 60 

Ptolemy 80 

Pucelle 73 

Pythagoras 96 

Quixotism 149 

Rabelais 9 

Raimond- 7 

Rainaldi 35 

Rakia 89 

Ramus 7 

Rebekah 141 

Renouard 7 

Rey II 

Richeome 7 

Rome 120 

Roman 10 

Romulus 70-73 

Rousset 8-1 1 

Rysvvick 8 

Sabaudio, Duke Eugene D 4-12 


Sabbatai, Sevi 9 

Sadducees-- 73 

Saint Leger, Abbe de 13 

Saltza, Herman von der 34 

Samaritan 136 

Samson 81 



Samuel 42-73 

Satyr 120 

Saul _._ 86 

Scheuerleer 11 

Schmid 13 

Scipio 58 

Scipio Africanus 58 

Scottish Rite 3 

Selve, la 11 

Serve tus 8-27 

Simias 80 

Sinenses 122-140 

Socrates 80 

Solyman 9 

Spincsa 10-11-16-28-145 

Spinosa II 11 

Stada 73 

Straube 13 

Strauss 145 

Strogoff 107 

Subiroth, Sopim 11 

Sybilline 61 

Sylvester I 53 

Tantalus 81 

Tansendorff 30-31-32 

Templars 33 

Tertullian 52-57 

Teutonic Knights 3 

Thahir ■ 89 

Thajib _ 89 

Theodore, Emperor 53 

Theophylactus 81 

Thermitis 64-65 

Thessalonians 78 

Thory 107 

Thyrsis 120 


Timalus 80 

Timotheus _ 143 

Timothy 141 

Titius 120 

Toulouse 27 

Trinoctius 81 

Trinsitium 81 

Trithemus 35 

Urban III 33 

Vago, Perini del 10-146 

Vale 14-15-16 

Valentinian 53 

Valliere, Duke de la 13 

Vanini 8-16-25-27 

Vedas 122-140 

Verimontii 12-146 

Victor V 33 

Vieweg 11 

Vignes, Pierre des 35-3^ 

Vineis, de 8 

Virgil 16 

Volney 38 

Voltaire 16-20 

Vroese 10-11-16 

Vulcan 81 

Wahabees 89 

Warville, Brissot de 23 

Washingthon 18 

VVeller 7-9-14-111 

Werner 5 

(should be Weller — see errata.) 

Wittel 7 

Zeineb 89 

Zibeon 141 

Zipporah 13S 



Acre 34 

America 22 

Amsterdam 10-11-14-79-108 

Arabia 62-66-67-88 

Arabia Petrea 65 

Babel 140 

Bastille 23 

Batavum 10-146 

Bavaria 30-32 

Belgium 22 

Berlin 11-13 

Berolini 12-146 

Bordeaux 13-79 

Boston 22-34-73 

Brabant 11 

Brittania 10-146 

Bruxelles 10 

Burdeos 14 

Canaan 141 

Caprae 70 

Chalcedon 53 

Cherres 70 

Constantinople 53 

Delos 6i 

Derbe 143 

Delphos 61 

Dresden 7 

Dundee 15 

East India 127 

Eden 80-127 

Egypt 65-66-72-90-137 

Ephesus 53 

Ethiopia 89-127 

Etna, Mount 70 

Florentine 27 

France 8-22-127 

Frankfort-on-the-Main 11-28 

Gaul 64 

Geneva 27 


Germany 7"ii-33 

Giessen 13 

Gomorrah 81 

Hades 95 

Hague 8-10-11 

Hamburgh lo-ii 

Haye, La 11 

Heidelberg 10 

Heilbronn 7-14-111 

Hochstadt 30 

Holland 11 

Holstein 16-25 

Horeb, Mt 138 

Hungary 8 

Iberia 71 

Iconium 143 

India 134 

Israel 68-113 

Italy 8-118 

Ithaca 1 15-145 

Jerusalem 33-34-138 

Jerusalem, Patriarch of 33 

Judea 72-90-139 

Kiel 10-16-25 

Krakau 8 

Leipsic 10-13 

Leyden 16-25 

London 14-18 

Lydia 73 

Lystra 143 

Malta 10-146 

Mecca 88-89-90-91 

Medina 88-91 

Milan 14 

Moselle 30 

Munich 30-31 

Munster 25-127 

Naupacte 58 

Nazareth 72-73 




Neapolitan 27 

Neuchatel 23 

New York 14-145 

Nice 53 

Nile 64 

Normandie 75 

Palestine 122-123 

Paris 7-9- 18-2 1-22 

Periphlegeton 81 

Persia 89 

Philadelphie 18-145 

Piccadelly 18 

Pisa.- 36 

Rackau 7 

Rome 8-11-21-22 

Rostock 10 

Rotterdam 11-16-25 


Russworn .. 10 

Sabaudio 12 

Saxony 31 

Schiren 32 

Sinai, Mt 143 

Sodom 81 

Subaudio (see Sabaudio). 

Suisse 16-23-107 

Thebes 64 

Toulouse 8 

Turkey 9 

United States 14 

Venice 34 

Vienna 13 

Washington 14 

Witelspach 32 

Yverdoner 11